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 backstory/situation immediately]
Watch for Super Cheap Rents
“If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.” [Google ‘Rental Homes Near Me’ and you’ll be able to find every site that home is listed on. If you see one listing is much cheaper than the others, its probably 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.
Research Your Landlord or Property Management Company
Never send money to a ‘landlord’ you’ve not met, spoken on the phone with, or researched. [Any property manager, realtor, or apartment group will have easy to find info and tons of reviews to reference on Google]
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! [While most scammers will pull and reuse actual listings pictures from a reputable property management company, many times they’re not updated pictures and almost always come out in poorer quality than the originals]
Who 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 full name and look-up tax records. [We highly discourage looking through Craigslist for rental homes as its prone to scams and is full of them]
Is the Property Manager 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.
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 length 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. [Victory Property Management utilizes both contactless in-person viewing through Tenant Turner and 3D Virtual Tours through Matterport for our tenants conveinence]
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. 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. [Head over to Realtor.com and type in the address and see what comes up]
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. [Always review your lease thoroughly and be on the lookout for information that doesn’t pertain to the state you’re moving to/within, the landlord’s legal name and contact information is on the lease, and all information is correct. Only then, would it be appropriate to pay any rent or deposits]
Rental Home Scam, 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.