Searching for a suitable rental unit? We thoroughly understand the frustrations and the hassles involved in the process. Getting interviewed by landlords, dealing with competition, paying money upfront, there is just too much involved. And the existing rental scams in the market make it all the more difficult and tiring.
Let’s walk you through the most common rental scams and what you can do to avoid them.
4 Common Rental Scams
1. Utilizing fake agent services
One of the most common type of rental scams involves generating a list of rent-to-own or pre-foreclosed properties. The rent on all these homes is usually lower than the market prices, which makes them an affordable option. But be wary of the real estate agent from whom you’re getting help from. Many of these are fake, and provide access to listings only when you sign up for a monthly fee. Once you do, the displayed listings have either expired or are fake. And yes, you guessed it right; there is a no-refund policy.
What’s the best way to avoid this kind of scam? Work with only reputed real estate agents like Ryan De La Uz who make it easy to find suitable rental units, and ensure that you move into your next apartment without any trouble.
2. Requiring money before you’ve even seen the property
Some rental listings don’t require any sign-up fee and seem fairly legit. But then, they do ask for an upfront amount before you can see the unit. Consider this to be a rental red flag, and avoid paying any money because this is probably a scam. And this is especially so if the website or agent is asking you to make the payment using wire transfer. In such a case, the payment is nearly impossible to stop, unlike paying with a credit card or check. Remember that there never was, and never will be, any fees for just seeing a unit.
3. Coming across a plagiarized or copy and pasted advertisement
Copy and pasted or plagiarized ads are another common rental scam. Generally, what happens is that a legitimate landlord posts an enticing description of their rental units and uploads attractive pictures. Scammers than copy and paste this ad as it is or make a few minor changes, and post another listing but this time, they lower the price. Now, any potential renters who are out of town and in a hurry to rent may want to put down some money before they actually see the rental unit, but this is another rental red flag, especially if the required security deposit is on the higher side.
4. Withholding the deposit
Probably one of the most common rental scams. Throughout the leasing tenure, your landlord will behave completely fine, but when it’s time for you to move out, they refrain from returning the deposit. Even if they do, they’ll claim too many damages and deduct most of the security deposit.