Rent Sense: Renters Beware
By Neil Fjellestad & Chris De Marco
FBS Property Management
Youâ€™re calling off a For Rent sign or responding to a rental ad but do you know the person or company offering the rental home? We are alarmed that avoidable scams continue to hurt rent consumers. Sixty-eight percent of existing and potential renters we surveyed indicated that they prefer renting from a property management company because they can check on the internet or with the BBB to verify their standing in the business community. Here are additional tips:
- If the â€œownerâ€ is willing to rent out their home at a price thatâ€™s extremely low for the market, ask why. This might seem like a great deal but you need to verify all parties to this transaction.
- The â€œownerâ€ is willing to rent based on your word and a few unverifiable references as opposed to standard rental application qualifications. Again, this might seem like a lucky break for you but verify all parties.
- Even though there might be a legitimate â€œurgency to act nowâ€ felt by all parties there is still time to complete the transaction properly.
- Every rental (real estate) transaction is subject to local, state and federal housing regulations.
- Consider using a real estate professional who is knowledgeable about rental transactions as opposed to an independent owner.
- Real estate professionals must be licensed with Californiaâ€™s DRE to transact leasing documents and collect rents.
- A rental agreement longer than 30 days must be in writing and should be on a standard form with terms that are compliant with California landlord-tenant law.
- Read the lease carefully and ask questions.