Unfortunately, with the high levels of stress that come along with relocating, it can be easy to overlook the possibility of becoming the victim of a rental scam. Not only do rental scams occur, they are actually on the rise. If you choose to search for a rental on your own keep in mind these common red flags to help you spot and avoid rental scams:
- It sounds too good to be true. If the listing is significantly less than similar nearby properties then chances are it’s a rental scam.
- You’re asked to hand over money before a lease is signed. Viewing fees, holding fees, or application fees are not common practice. You should never have to pay money just to view a home.
- You’re asked to pay in cash or wire money. These payment methods are relatively untraceable and can be used by the recipient immediately – once you send it, you have no way to get it back. It’s never a good sign if the landlord doesn’t want a “paper-trail.”
- The landlord seems too eager to lease the apartment to you. Scammers want to get your money quickly and then move on to the next victim. If you feel pressured to act quickly because of some immediate need, be especially cautious. Scam artists count on decisions made in haste.
- You’re told you do not need a lease. Not only should a tenant require a written lease, the tenant should also demand a copy of the lease signed by the landlord to prevent fraud and to lay out the rights and responsibilities of the parties.
- The landlord always has a reason for not being able to meet you or show the property. Though on occasion the reason may be legitimate, it should be treated as suspect is the landlord is avoiding meeting you face-to-face or letting you view the property. It’s a major red flag when landlord wants to stay “anonymous.”
- Listings with typos, poor grammar, and excessive punctuation. This usually indicates that the listing was either computer-generated or posted by someone outside of Canada.
Don’t overlook these warning signs of a rental scam and ignore your gut because you’re feeling stressed, rushed, or get caught up in the moment. Happy hunting!
If you’re feeling nervous about house hunting on your own contact us to learn how we can assist you through the rental process. Be sure to avoid a potential rental scam.