Is This A Rental Scam?
According to Forbes, in 2018 5.2 million people have lost money to rental scams
43.1% of American Renters have fallen victim to a Rental Scam
Renting in today’s world is much different than in the past. With many movers coming from out-of-state and even more looking for safer virtual and contactless home viewing options, rental scams are at an ultimate high. Spotting a scam can be tricky, scammers have gotten good at what they do. From creating realistic listings and even providing what looks to be a real lease, we’re going to give you our best tips on identifying rental scams.
Apartment Scammers Prey on Tenants with Deadlines
Moving in a tight window of time is stressful and can put you in a vulnerable position. Rental home scammers see you as an easy target. Never volunteer your situation or backstory immediately.
Watch For Super Cheap Rents
“If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.” If you’re searching for rental homes and notice one site lists a home’s rent significantly cheaper than the rest it’s a scam.
Background Checks Before Seeing the Home
Trustworthy rental property management companies will never ask you for sensitive information prior to you viewing the home. Both parties will have questions and now is the time to get a good idea of who you’ll be working with.
Research Your Landlord or Property Management Company
Never send money to a ‘landlord’ you’ve not met, spoken on the phone with, or researched. Many scammers prey on desperate renters and use very convincing tactics to persuade them that this home is a great deal and wont last long. Any reputable landlord or property manager, realtor, or apartment group will have easy-to-find info about their organization and tons of great reviews!
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Not only is a severely reduced price an obvious sign of a rental home scam, take a good hard look at their photos too! Most scammers will pull and reuse actual listing pictures from trustworthy management companies. Many times these pictures will be older than current images and more often than not come out in much poorer quality.
Whos is the Legal Owner?
Whether you’re looking through Zillow or Apartments.Com, you’re likely to see ‘for lease by owner’. You’re welcome to ask this landlord for his or her full name and lookup tax records to see if they indeed own the property. We highly discourage looking for a home through Craigslist as it’s prone to scammers.
Is this Property Managment Legit?
Being a landlord is a lot of work so many homeowners choose to have a great property management company near them to represent the home. Many rental sites will verify if the company is real or not but if you don’t see that, look for the company’s website, Google reviews, or if they’re involved with the Better Business Bureau.
Make Sure You See the Inside
A true landlord or property manager knows the importance of their future tenant seeing the inside of a home and will go to great lengths to ensure that happens. We want to prepare for any issues our future tenants may see and address them before a tenant moves in or backs out of the home completely.
Is It Listed For Sale?
Empty homes are an easy target for scammers. They figure out how to gain entry and then “rent” out the unit always at an unbelievable rate. Once they get your deposit and first month’s rent you never see them again but the police show up and accuse you of squatting.
Get a Written and Signed Lease
While this is usually a good signifier of a legitimate landlord, a quick Google search can give anyone access to a multitude of different leases. Many states have very specific leases outlining different laws. Take the time to read the entire lease.
View a Sample Victory Property Management Lease Agreement
Rental Home Scammer, Beware!
Many of these pointers may be obvious but when your moving window shrinks or you’re trying to find the best rate, things do get missed. If you have questions about the market or are looking for a home in North Carolina, we would be happy to assist you. Our #1 goal is to always outperform not only the competition but ourselves. You’ll be able to find hundreds of 5 STAR REVIEWS just by Googling our name with your local city.