I am beside myself in disbelief the sheer amount of rental scams that are out there right now. What is even crazier is the amount of people who are falling victim to them. I wanted to write this blog to remind both agents and potential tenants of the dangers they face and what to avoid. please re-blog this and also add comments or additional tips. If you have come accross any of these scams please write about them.
The most common scam is coming from Africa and has people cloning actual listings that are for sale or for rent and they add a new contact email. They are listing the price at half of market value. They are easy to spot as they usually say they cant get you in but if you mail or wire the rent they will mail you the keys that may never come. They will rent the house to 2,3,6 or 10 different people.
As an agent, if you list bank owned homes or have a vacant short sale, the scammers look for key words in your ads to know no one lives there and they take over your listing, the most common ads are on craigs list and now Trulia as well as other rental sites.
Here in NH i have seen local scammers put a twist on the scam and say to leave cash in the mailbox where they will in turn leave the lease and keys to get in the house. i found out this scam when a couple in a moving truck and and another family in a van pulled up both looking to move in. I was lucky i was there for a showing and was able to tell them the house was not for rent and it would not rent for $500 month, it would be more like $1500 a month.
Another scam that is exploding across the country is owners of homes and apartments who are in foreclsoure, renting theor property right before it gets foreclosed on, usually offering huge discounts in rent if you pay in advance. The tenant then finds out quickly the property is foreclosed and gets evicted losing all they paid.
There are a variety of scams, all with the purpose of seperating you from your money.
1. Verify who the owner of the house is.
2. Do not rent a house sight unseen
3. If the rental price seems to good to be true, it probabily is
4. Do NOT wire money or leave cash in a mailbox.
5. If the owner says they are out of the country, chances are, they are not the owner
6. check to make sure the owner is not in foreclosure
7. Only rent from local, trusted and verified owners or agents.
UPDATEDÂ July 24, 2011
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Blog written by:
Godzyk Group Realty