The ability to have access at our fingertips to various online rental listings will give us many great choices and versatility to find a flatmate or find somewhere to live. However, just like everything you do around the internet, there are risks involved and it happens with renting, known as rental scams. Online rental listings are the ideal hunting ground when it comes to rental scams. In particular, if you’re new to the scene to find potential rental locations, scammers will exactly know who has rented before and who hasn’t through applications. While the Internet made it much easier to locate a rental, it was also riddled with scams. We’ve created a list of common rental scams and tips for avoiding them to help you avoid these tricksters.
Meet the landlord in person
Inquire about who they are and how they can be reached if the landlord is not the one showing the property. If the individual does not have these information, a renting-for-the-owner scam is likely to involve them.
Property is too cheap
Everyone loves a good deal, but there must be something wrong with it if a property is far below market value. To get prospective tenants interested, rental scammers will also list a property at a low price. They would then place pressure on the tenants to pay a deposit and rent for the first months to protect the house.
Do not ever pay with cash
Make sure you do not pay in cash, whether you are paying for an application fee, deposit or rent. There needs to be a way to track the money you have sent and if possible, get it back. Also, make sure that you have checked it as a legitimate business if you are wiring cash or disclosing bank details.
Do your research
Market rates are one component of research to be conducted. It’s something you should be careful of, depending on your venue, if market prices are high and you see offers that are well below market rent. Another piece of research to be done is to see more information about the apartment on the listing pages. Ignore areas where text images of the commercial are watermarked, and any photographs of very poor quality. Also, take note of the details. If there is a street address, look up more info on google.
Demand a written lease in person
To sign a written lease, a tenant is needed. In some cases, landlords send tenants a copy of the unsigned lease and ask for a signature until the terms are shown. Problems can occur when a copy of the completely executed lease is never submitted by the landlord. How are you going to know? For the most part, you don’t. In actual contact, however the tenant and the landlord should both sign.
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