Assuming that you’ve browsed local rental listings and discovered your ideal home. It is in a great location, within your budget, and has the correct number of rooms! Now the question here is, how could you tell if a rental is legit or a rental scam? By this, here are the tips on how to catch a rental scammer so you can avoid getting traumatized by being scammed by such heartless frauds.
Tip #1: Dealing in cash is a terrible way to start.
You should at least know that working with cash is solely the most common method of carrying out illicit money transactions. The fact that genuine money is so appealing to fraudsters is because, in this method, people cannot easily trace it. So, after paying them for a cozy and lovely apartment, they’ll have all the chance to steal your money.
The work of a con artist landlord circulates on demanding cash payments and will immediately move on to another application if you refuse. Remember never to use cash or wire transfers for a security deposit or pay the last month in advance. And with such signs, it is safe to conclude that they are frequently involved in renting frauds.
Tip #2: A documented lease should always be signed.
The explanation for avoiding verbal agreements is simple: while they are legal in many areas, they are complicated to handle in case of a dispute or disagreement. If you wish to seek legal counsel or take your matter to court, an agreement made will quickly turn into a nightmare. Both the homeowner and the tenant must approve all rental contracts.
If you opt to deal with such a tangible contract, you must ensure that:
- The landlord also signs the copy( to achieve this, try marking the lease with the presence of each other right after deciding to rent the property)
- You receive a signed contract.
Tip #3: Do not rent without first inspecting the place
Every renter should inspect the property they intend to rent before signing a contract, and if your landlord makes excuses for why this is not yet available, you must be extra cautious in dealing with them. One of the common reasons why people get scammed is because they easily believe what the landlord says and just let them have their way.
For those attempting to find an apartment in another city while preparing to relocate, Even, in this case, you should make sure that your friend, relative, or trustee pays a visit to the landlord’s unit and inspects it. Although many scammers have access to the property, asserting on a house tour is a significant step toward a more translucent rental process and an excellent way to protect yourself from various scams.
Tip #4: Conduct your research
The best thing about the Internet is that it never forgets anything. There are websites, chat rooms, and Facebook groups where people can share their thoughts on anything and everything. So, before renting a place from someone, ensure to conduct basic internet research — you could perhaps google the landlord’s name, email, property address, and so on.
It would be best to consider using Google’s reverse image search when looking for a place to rent. You can save the photo of the property and use it to search for similar results. Scammers steal pictures of existing properties and place them on different websites so that you may see the same place listed in another city or even country. Also, if a real estate agency or agent represents this specific landlord, read some feedback and reviews about how they conduct business. If you can’t find any information about them, this should raise a red flag for you.
Tip #5: Always trust your instincts
When it comes to money, it’s best to be safe than sorry. So contact a professional immediately if you suspect the landlord is trying to scam you.