Alleged Rent Scam in Taipei - what should I do? (a bit long)


Recently something really unfortunate happened to me, and wanted to ask for your guys’ advice. I checked out a flat in Taipei close to the university where I’ll start studying.

Everything looked fine and I loved the flat and location, but when I asked the alleged landlord for documents proving his ownership, he got really mad and emphasized it’s a short term and it’s a bother for him. To cut a long story short, as until now I’ve never been cheated in Taiwan and the local people I’ve met until now were surprisingly great and trustworthy, I signed the contract with him (the 7-11 Ministry of Interior standard contract) and even provided him with a deposit of several thousand yuan, to secure the flat before I move in on March 1st. Due to me being too trusting and really liking the flat, I didn’t even ask for a photo of his ID.

A few days after, I discovered he published the SAME ROOM again on Facebook.

He told me some bullshit that he actually meant to publish his other flat, and that’s just an advertisement. Anyway, when in the morning I asked for his ID and proof of ownership, he got mad and said the rent is cancelled, agreed to give me back the deposit but only in person and not through a bank transfer (which is super suspicious).

Now, my questions:

  1. Do you think the police would take my claim seriously if I go there with this story?

  2. Can I tell him that if he doesn’t return the money until a certain date, I’ll publish his full details and the facts of the story in several foreigner and Taiwanese forums, also to warn other people? Or does it expose me to a lawsuit?

Thanks a lot

I can’t help much, but other posters may have useful advices. Regardless on what you decide to do, I’d recommend you to edit your post to remove any Pathak personal information that could identify you.
Most of them are not relevant to your question anyway, and in case the landlord wants to take some action against you, this could be used to make his case. :2cents:

Always bring a Taiwanese when signing the deal.
At least he/she could read and confirm the details for you.
Anyone will do. Even a janitor at your school or your office OL.
A thank you gesture with a little splurge pineapple cake would do.

Never… ever… go alone.

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It’s very possibly true. Some landlords have apartments that they decorate similarly and just reuse the same photos.
Also, he could be subleasing it to you or leasing for a friend or relative and not have ownership documents.

He probably felt insulted that you kept asking after the deal was done and wanted shut of you. You can try to apologize and see if that calms things. If it’s a short-term lease, I wouldn’t go through so much drama.

No. He hasn’t done anything wrong, except maybe violate the contract by ending it early, which is not a police matter unless I’m wrong. You’ll need a lawyer for any compensation.

He’s offering to return the money, so why make a threat? Also, yes, that would expose you to a lawsuit and he would win.
Just go get the money. If he doesn’t give it you, you can take further action, but it honestly sounds like you’re overly-suspicious and making unnecessary trouble. Once again, just apologize and it may all go away. If someone else comes to claim the apartment, you’re no worse off then than you are now.


I don’t trust middle man. It’s better to have a face to face and rent from the real landlord. This will give you peace of mind.

If you sign a contract, gave your money, make sure you have the keys to the door. AND make sure it is the real key. Never sign then leave without key.

Not a good start too…

I personally would just get the money and find a different apartment.

Imagine a whole year of drama…

The contract was ok, sent it to a Taiwanese friend. The problem is that the guy is probably not the owner…

It is most likely too that it will be similar guy who you need to deal with for the rest of your stay. IMO, this will cause unnecessary tension given that he cannot really grant you whatever request you want or need. And if there’s any problem, you can expect delays since you are going through a middle man.

Absolutely don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong. Just meet with him to get your money back and find a different place.

I also wouldn’t go alone to get your money back. Might be a reason he wants to meet in person and not just transfer the money.


Never apology!
Apology means admit guilty nowadays.
Take money, find some place else.
You are lucky he still want to return your deposit.

If he didn’t return the deposit it would be a criminal police matter.

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I hope OP has a copy of the contract…

An apology goes a long way to diffuse a difficult situation. Our pride often works against our best interests. Who cares who is right or wrong? The OP hasn’t done anything that could be considered a crime, not even libel, so it’s not admitting guilt. Assuming, of course, he was not actually insulting to the landlord.

That said, if it were me I would only try to rectify the situation if I was actually living in the apartment. Looking at the posts again, I’m not sure if he’s moved in yet. If not, I’d probably just cut and run. But he wants a short-term lease. If he’s already in the apartment, I wouldn’t go through the hassle of moving again if the situation could be resolved.

There are cases that the landlord didn’t return deposit claiming that the rentee made lots of damage to the room or building. Landlord must deduct the deposit or even take it fully.
I know it’s illegal and theoretically could go to court, but that’s that.