We have had some instances reported to us of individuals who have been masquerading as the landlord of a property. In these cases the students have been given a contract to rent a property or room from someone; this someone is usually a tenant. Legally speaking this is considered to be sub-letting, and if this has been prohibited by the landlord then your tenancy there is illegal. In these cases, students found that they had been giving money directly to the contracted tenant, who had then been keeping the money for themselves. You can check who owns a property by contacting the Land Registry and requesting a 'title register' (under 'Title Deeds'; there is a fee of £3 for each title register document). If you also have doubts whether your landlord is the actual owner of the property you may ask to see the documentation or deeds when you sign your contract. If you have any doubts whatsoever, exercise caution. For more information please see the Shelter information on subtenants.