The Most Common Rental Home Scams and How to Avoid Them

Protect Yourself from Rental Fraudsters with These Expert Tips

Finding the perfect rental home can be an exciting yet daunting experience. In today’s fast-paced real estate market, there is, unfortunately, no shortage of rental scams that can leave innocent renters feeling vulnerable and exposed. In this blog post, we will uncover the most common rental home scams and provide expert advice on how to avoid falling victim to these unscrupulous schemes.

  1. The “Too Good to Be True” Listing

One of the most common rental home scams involves a property that appears to be an absolute steal. The listing features a beautiful home or apartment, well below market value, and is designed to lure unsuspecting renters into a false sense of urgency.

How to Avoid:

  • Do your research: Compare the listing with similar properties in the area. If the price seems too low, it probably is.
  • Verify the property’s existence: Drive by the property or use Google Street View to ensure it exists and matches the listing.
  • Trust your instincts: If it feels too good to be true, it likely is.
  1. The Fake Landlord

In this scam, the “landlord” or “property manager” is not the actual owner of the property. They may have gained access to the property through illegal means and are looking to collect rent or security deposits from unsuspecting renters.

How to Avoid:

  • Verify ownership: Conduct a public records search to confirm that the person you are dealing with is the actual property owner.
  • Request identification: Ask the landlord or property manager to provide identification that matches the property ownership information.
  • Check references: Ask for previous tenant references and follow up with them to confirm their experience.
  1. The Upfront Fees Scam

This scam involves the renter being asked to pay upfront fees, such as a security deposit or first and last month’s rent, before even signing a lease or viewing the property. Scammers may disappear with your money once they receive it, leaving you without a rental home and out of pocket.

How to Avoid:

  • Never send money without a signed lease: Ensure you have a signed lease agreement in place before paying any fees.
  • Be cautious with wire transfers: Scammers often prefer untraceable payment methods. Use a secure, traceable payment method when paying deposits or rent.
  • Meet in person: Arrange to meet the landlord or property manager in person and inspect the property before agreeing to any terms.
  1. The Sublet Scam

In this scam, a tenant with a lease on a property illegally sublets the property without the landlord’s permission. Once discovered, the unsuspecting subtenant may be evicted, leaving them without a place to live.

How to Avoid:

  • Request a copy of the lease: Ask to see the original lease agreement to ensure subletting is permitted.
  • Speak with the landlord: Contact the landlord directly to confirm the sublet arrangement.
  • Get a written sublease agreement: Protect yourself with a legally binding sublease agreement signed by all parties.

Falling victim to a rental home scam can be a devastating experience. By being vigilant and following the tips provided in this blog post, you can significantly reduce the risk of encountering such scams. Remember, if a rental opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts, do your due diligence, and protect yourself from rental fraudsters