Margaret Law…, Renter in San Francisco, CA

Hello - I found a beautiful apartment on your site, listed by Paul Hart. I believe it may be a scam, and wanted to report it.

Asked by Margaret Lawlor, San Francisco, CA Tue Mar 25, 2014

Have you had any issues with Paul Hart in the past?
He is leasing a 1 BR in San Francisco.
Do you keep ratings/reviews of any of the landlords?
What type of process do landlords have to go through in order to list space?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Margaret,
When being asked for rent money up front, ask for a BRE license number. Prepaid Rental Listing Services have to have BRE #'s. Many people don't know to ask for and look up a BRE (Bureau of Real Estate) license number. You can also look up Real Estate agents, Real Estate Appraisers, Mortgage Lenders, "Payday Lenders", Escrow Agents, Foreign Banks (state or international), Trust Companies, and more.

Here's the link to look up the many different kinds real estate licenses:

It's the law that licensed professionals have to give you their license number right away. Don't be shy about asking for a license number.

:) Monika

Monika Thomas, Realtor
call or text (415) 572-2670
Better Homes & Gardens Mason-McDuffie
One Daniel Burnham Court 260-C
San Francisco CA 94109-0463
CA DRE 01918034
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2014
Thank you! That is so helpful, and definitely will help me feel confident about brokers. I appreciate it.

Would you be interested in helping me find an apartment beginning May 1? If so, please email me at

I look forward to hearing back!
Flag Wed Mar 26, 2014
SCAM! He tried convincing me into paying the first 2 months rent before showing me the apartment and made up some bulls**t story about other people wasting his time because he has to travel all the way from texas. He asked for my name address and phone number and refused to show me the apartment without any form of payment. i honestly thing its a scam for sure
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2014
Same here, except Utah now. It's still posted on and I informed them today it was a scam.
Flag Tue May 20, 2014
Same here, except he said he was coming all the way from North Carolina. Definitely a scam!
Flag Tue May 6, 2014
I had the same experience. He asked me to pay the security deposit and that it would be returned back to me, if I didn't like the apartment. And, then he asked me to send a money gram to his wife. He even had a Rental Agreement created that he sent to me.
Flag Thu Apr 3, 2014
You didn't include a link to the listing but just the fact that you are asking about a suspicion leads me to believe that it is a scam.

Here are some good tips on how prevent yourself from being scammed:…

Don't forget to 'Flag' the listing so that Trulia's moderators can remove the listing.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2014
LOL. WOW. I knew my senses were right. I also found an apartment that was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE in SF. It is listed as 515 20th Balboa, San Francisco for 1BR- 1,600 and everything included with parking and what not. He said furnitures were all provided. Beautiful and modern. PERFECT. I knew it was sketchy when he said that he was from South Carolina and therefore, would have to go out of his way to meet with potential tenants. He then asked for payment before viewing. EHHH. RED FLAG. I dragged on our email conversations to be certain he was indeed a scammer. Well. It was obvious for me not to proceed, but I'm not sure if it is as clear for other potential tenants! BEWARE!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 18, 2014
He is a scammer. 100% scammer!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 12, 2014
He is a scammer!!! 100% Scammer!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 12, 2014
I also found this listing from Paul Hart. He has listed it on the goSection8 site, reaching the most desperate of renters and low income people and families whom have a very hard time finding landlords willing to rent to them. I was shocked to see the listing there for $1400. I inquired last night and woke to find a reply from him, so I asked to see the unit today and am awaiting his reply. Here is the link to his posting:…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 5, 2014
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2014
Is the property in Pacific Heights? I believe he's now advertising the property on college housing sites and
Flag Tue May 20, 2014
Hi Gus -

Are you still the owner of the property?
Is it actually for rent?

Thank you,
Flag Wed Mar 26, 2014
Hello Margaret, yes beware of the many rental scams out there asking for money up front, to low to be true, etc. You should always consult with a licensed agent/broker whom can look up the status of the address and whom you should be dealing with. If you figure out what cities/zip codes your considering, minimum number of bedrooms and the maximum payment your looking to achieve you can be set up to receive automatic daily emails to fit your search criteria.

You should study RENT vs BUY options as you may qualify to buy with minimum out of pocket expenses and pay less than rent. It only takes a few dozen questions to qualify and go over your options. Here is a blog.…

Sheryl Arndt, Real Estate Broker - Sr. Loan Officer CA only
REO & Short Sale Specialist
Credit Repair At No Cost
ALL Loan Programs Available
20+ Years Experience
BRE# 01140252
NMLS# 297251
9am till 7pm Monday thru Saturday, Sundays by appt. or
If my response was helpful, consider clicking thumbs up or Best Answer!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2014
if you believe it to be a scam, just pass on it. As for who monitors anyone online, obviously if these scam "artists" exist, just like those who go around creating viruses for computers, hackers, and other unsavory characters, it is because there are not checks and balances except your own good judgment (and a good anti-virus program, LOL).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2014
There have been many rental scams reported on trulia. If someone is asking you for money just to see the place or it sounds too good to be true, keep looking. There are no deals on rentals these days,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2014
Hi Lance -

Thanks for the info. What about asking you to wire money over for a transfer. Specifically if you're trying to reserve an apartment remotely?
Flag Wed Mar 26, 2014
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