Beware Of Rental Scams – How To Recognize Them And How To Avoid Them

With rising costs, low vacancy rates and high demand for both long and short-term
rentals, there has been a huge increase in rental scams. Using the internet, scammers
advertise fake listings online and lure consumers into making bookings and sending

The most common type of rental scams:

Asking for a security deposit before signing a lease
As a potential renter, you should not be asked to hand over any money before signing a
lease or seeing the property. Never mail or wire money if you have not signed the lease.
A small reasonable fee to cover the cost of background checks is fine, but any other
form of request for money should be handled with caution.

A very attractive price
If the price is too good to be true (priced well below market in the area), then there is
definitely something wrong with the listing. The owner may use a “bait and switch”
tactic using a low rent price to lure in possible renters and then replace it with a more
costly unit.

Not able to meet in person
If you are not able to meet the renter in person or by real time video, then you should
be mindful of the listing. Genuine landlords should be able to meet you either in person
or digitally, so that they can be comfortable with trusting you as a renter.

Wanting you to move in immediately without seeing the property
You should be able to see the inside of the property you intend to rent before you sign a
lease. If the landlord just walks around the property with you without giving you access
to the inside, then you should be aware that this is a potential scam. It is easy to
advertise a fake online listing.

A poorly constructed advert
In most cases landlords take care in creating a well written listing of their property. An
ad that has poor grammar, with lots of typos and punctuation errors is likely to have
been created by a scammer. If the photos are vague and only shows the outside and not
the inside, then you should avoid the listing.

There is no screening process
Normally a landlord would ensure that the tenant is responsible and can pay the rent
and take care of the property. If you come across a landlord who does not require a
rental application filled out or a credit check done, then you should be suspicious.

Signing an incomplete lease
You are putting yourself at considerable risk by signing an incomplete lease. If the lease
contains many blank spaces, vague writing or incomplete sentences, you are opening
yourself to future problems, as the landlord may easily manipulate the lease at a later

How to stay safe

  • Check the address carefully, making sure it is not being used elsewhere
  • Always request a contract, agreement or lease, and review it thoroughly
  • Never pay any money before signing a document
  • Research the property in person and meet the landlord at the address
  • Ask for an inside tour of the property
  • Know your rights as a tenant by visiting official government websites

We have been in the real estate business for over 30 years. If you are looking for a
rental property or have any real estate related questions, get in touch with us. Call us on
604.913.1000, contact us  or follow us on Facebook.

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