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Rental & Housing Scams

Rental & Housing Scams

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To protect yourself from rental scams, it's important to be aware of the warning signs. 

Here are some red flags to watch out for:
  • Requesting deposit money upfront: Be wary of any listings that ask for payment or wired money before you have seen the property or signed a lease. Scammers often try to get you to hold the rental and send money before ever meeting you. If this is the case, walk away from the potential security deposit scam.
  • Landlord or leasing agent not available: If the person who replies to the listing claims to be out of town, sick, or simply unavailable to meet, yet still demands a security deposit, it could be a scam. Scammers avoid meeting in person so that they can't be reported, and they escape with your deposit. A legitimate landlord will arrange to meet you in person and show you the property.
  • Fake or false listings: Even if you meet the landlord, it's important to view the property before signing a lease. Scammers can easily copy another listing and claim to have a fake property. Another red flag is a request for an unusually high-security deposit, as scammers will quickly disappear after receiving the money.
  • Added fees for background checks: While it is common for landlords to check a potential tenant's credit and background, some scams involve requiring potential tenants to pay exorbitant fees to cover these checks.
  • No lease required: Without a lease, you might be at risk for potential problems. Even month-to-month leases usually have some form of agreement that outlines the responsibilities of both parties.
By being aware of these warning signs, you can protect yourself from rental scams and find a legitimate rental property. Always trust your instincts and be cautious when dealing with potential landlords or leasing agents.

More safety tips:
  • Always visit the property in person before making any payments or signing any contracts.
  • Be wary of rental ads that have unusually low prices or seem too good to be true.
  • Verify the identity and contact information of the landlord or property manager by doing a background check and searching for reviews or feedback online.
  • Never wire money or make payments through untraceable methods such as Western Union or prepaid debit cards.
  • Always read and understand the terms and conditions of the lease agreement before signing it.
  • Beware of rental listings that have spelling and grammar errors or use stock photos instead of real pictures of the property.
  • Do not give out personal information such as social security numbers or bank account information until you have verified the legitimacy of the landlord and the rental property.
  • Be cautious of rental listings that require a large upfront payment or a security deposit that is higher than the average for the area.
  • Research the average rental prices for the area to ensure that the rental price is reasonable.
  • Ask for a copy of the property's utility bills and tax records to verify the legitimacy of the landlord and the rental property.
  • Check the property's registration status with local authorities to ensure that it is a legally registered rental property.
  • Use a reputable rental agency or platform that verifies the legitimacy of the rental property and landlord.
  • Avoid renting properties that are advertised as "available immediately" without any prior notice or screening process.
  • Ask for references from previous tenants to verify the legitimacy of the landlord and the rental property.
  • If possible, visit the property at different times of the day to assess the neighborhood and ensure that the rental property is in a safe and secure location.

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