Over the weekend we recently were alerted that a listing we have for sale was being advertised as a property for rent. Apparently someone in the area was scammed for first and last months’ rent. The questions all came as to how this came about and it was very alarming to see the other people comment on the Facebook post of something similar happening to them or to someone they know. I have done a little digging and have come up with 7 steps to help protect yourself in a rental scam.
Too Good To Be True
These rental scammers target areas in high demand for rental properties. Right now, Orangeville is definitely an area with very decent rental properties so this makes it a prime target area. These scammers advertise a property for a very attractive lease price. If most detached homes are listed for $2000+ per month and you find an ad for one at $1500, this should make your radar go off. If the rent seems too good to be true…it most likely is!
Schedule a Viewing
Many people asked this person in the post if they viewed the home. She actually did but the scammers were sneaky. Typically these crooks will tell a very convincing story that they have been relocated for work and were going to sell and that is why the home was listed for sale. Then they decide they don’t really want to sell because they have family in the area and plan to relocate back in the next 5 years or so and wish to rent the house instead. They advise you to go view the home as the real estate agent is doing a last open house. The lies are unreal. If you come through an Open House with a Realtor®, make sure to sign in on the register and let the agent know why you are there. They will quickly set you straight.
No Deposit Until Unit is Viewed
These con artists are good and spin such an elaborate lie that is understandable how people can get taken advantage of. NEVER give a deposit until you physically have viewed the property yourself. They will come up with a ruse that they will send you the key to go view the home once you send them a deposit of some type. It always sounds convincing.
Don’t go to a property to view alone. Always take someone with you. Not a good idea to meet a complete stranger possibly in a vacant location all by yourself. Having another person there also provides for a second set of ears.
Google the Address
If you see the address of the home coming up on sites for sale, the likelihood is that the property is for sale! These con artists steal the information on homes for sale from public websites and advertise these properties for rent. If you see it come up on another Realtors® site, then CALL the agent and inquire. Don’t just email. I have to admit I was getting messages on Messenger about my listing for rent? I had no idea what people were talking about because I knew I didn’t have a rental listed. It’s always best to call and that way things do not get lost in text/email.
Typically if an owner is advertising their own place for rent, they are not hiring a professional photographer or having the property staged. They would most likely take the pictures with their phone to post. If the quality of the pictures looks too “professional” then that should raise another red flag. The photos you are seeing have been stolen from a property listed for sale.
Hire a Realtor®
I know not many rental properties even hit the MLS system here in Orangeville because there is such a high demand, but many of us Realtors® are in the know of local, trusted property managers or know of properties legitimately for rent. You may not need to “hire” us, but even use us as a sounding board. In return, when you do decide to make the leap to homeownership, we hope you use our services then.
It is completely gut wrenching to know there are people out there that take from honest, good natured, trusting people. We know how difficult it is to find a decent, affordable place to rent especially in Orangeville; but, to have someone steal your money that you were going to use for first and last month’s rent is completely reprehensible! In next week’s blog, I will expand on what to do if you are the victim of a rental scam.