Ron Cadima, Renter in San Francisco, CA

How secure and verifiable are the rentals on trulia.com?

Asked by Ron Cadima, San Francisco, CA Sat Jul 2, 2011

I have always received E-mails back that I would have to pay the 1st month, and security deposit and sign a lease before I even get to see the apartment. They say they will reuind the money after I see the apartment if I do not like it. I believe that in CA. once you sign a lease, it is a binding contract and you are liable to make payments according to the agreement. Any idea on the safety of this?

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15
Emily Erekuff’s answer
Hi Ron,

You've received some great answers below. I concur with everyone that you should never exchange funds with anyone without first seeing a property in person and meeting the landlord or apartment manager, and if you are being asked to do so, you are likely encountering a scam.

I was able to find 485 B Potrero and 612 Van Ness, and I've blocked those properties from our site and we will investigate who submitted these listings to us.

If you or anyone else believes that they've encountered a scam listing on our site, please use the "Report an error" button on the property page to alert us about this, or email our Customer Service team directly via the link below.

Thank you,

Emily Erekuff
Community Moderator
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
You ask them to show you their place. If someone is looking for a tenant, they are going to be expected to show it.

Follow your instincts.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
Hello Ron,
Rental scams are happening more and more on various real estate websites including Trulia and Craiglist.com. Most sites do not verify rental listings until a listing is reported as "suspect".

The scammer gets the information from a listing that is "for sale" and then posts it as a "rental" listing in an attempt to gain your money or personal information.

Get their full name and contact information and then check with the tax assessor's office to determine if indeed that individual is the true owner of the property.

Please, be very cautious.
Good luck!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
Happy fourth of July Ron. Do you feel privileged being one of only a few who has been asked to provide money for an apartment you have not even seen yet? Seems like you were thinking about though and I'm glad to see you decided to get another opinion. Welcome to world of internet scams. This is just the beginning of real estate scams, so check back again... just to make sure all is right.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
Hi Ron,
I concur with the two previous gentlemen. Don't do it.
Web Reference: http://ocnorth.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
If it looks like a scam and smells like a scam... it's a scam. DO NOT DO THIS!!! If I could underline, bold, and put any more emphasis on that then I would.

Please report any activity like that to the FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/ and if it's nothing then nothing will come of it. But don't be a victim.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
Don't you dare send any money to someone like this. It's a scam. If it's too good to be true, it is! Work with a knowledgeable Realtor or find a place on Craigslist.

Be very careful, there are lots of scammers out there.

Best.

Tap
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
Ron,
This is going to sound redundant because so many pros have told you the same thing but if you are required to give anything up front without you or a representative seeing the property, I would turn around and walk away, you are about to get taken for your money. This is by no means safe. You should be working with an agent/broker or leasing agent that can assist you in making this type of transaction safely.

If you have additional questions or just need assistance in making this transition, please don't hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an email.

Duncan
lduncan@duncanrealestateservices.com
Phone (800) 385-0697
cell(415) 349-5020
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 4, 2011
Ron,
1366 Turk St. sounds like a scam as well. It's written into most leases that the landlord reserves the right to show the unit a certain number of days (usually 30) before the lease expires with the current tenant if they have no intention upon renewing their lease.

If you can't see the unit before signing or giving a deposit then chances are that it's a scam.

I suggest that you work with a real estate agent to assist you in finding a legitimate rental as usually there is no fee to you and the agent works for you in your best interests.
Good luck!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 4, 2011
Just got a response back from 1366 Turk St. They said you can reserve it with lease signing and payment up front. Could not see the apartment because newly married couple are living it now. This was the same reply as from another apartment I had inquired about. Maybe true, but raises a flag.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 4, 2011
Ron,

They are not secure. All verification would be your responsibility. Be very careful. Rental listings offered by local real estate companies are a safer way to go. Here is Paragon's rental link for example:

http://www.paragon-rentals.com/?cat=98

Good luck,

Oggi Kashi
CA DRE 01844627
Web Reference: http://www.oggikashi.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 3, 2011
Q: There were 3 properties so far. 502 Beale St, 612 Van Nesse and 485 B Potrero. What questions should I ask them? Thanks.
A: If they can meet you at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 13th Floor San Francisco - it's the FBI Field office.

485 B Potrero looks to also be a pending sale. 502 Beale St looks like the scam has been caught already. I did not find any listing at 612 Van Ness (I am pretty sure you didn't mean Van Nesse) - but I did find this post made 2 days ago about the same property - http://www.trulia.com/voices/Rentals/Anyone_else_encountered…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
Craigslist has been a hotbed of Nigerian scams lately, advertising apartments and houses that don't exist. I didn't realize the realty sites were getting them, too. Nothing should be required financially to see a place, not even an app. fee!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
There were 3 properties so far. 502 Beale St, 612 Van Nesse and 485 B Potrero. What questions should I ask them? Thanks,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
Can you respond to your question and post any of them that you have found like this?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 2, 2011
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