Rental Scams! We’re hearing more and more stories again – innocent tenants taken advantage by opportunists pretending to be a landlord. So, what can you do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim?

Here are 5 important things

1. If possible, find a rental property through a real estate / property management company. This may include utilizing a Realtor for your search or looking through listings through reputable, real estate listing sites where the listing is connected to an actual real estate or property management company.

Your lease and initial collection of rent and security deposit funds will most likely happen at an office, adding to the reputability of the listing. If you have any doubts or want to do a verification of the company or Realtor, most places have a local Realtors association where you can verify the company / agent or search through your state’s real estate licensing division.

2. If you find a rental home through a website that allows postings from anyone or a for rent by owner site, it is always advisable to verify the owners information. Searches can be done through your city’s assessors or recorders website to find the property owner’s name. Asking for some type of proof of ownership can also be requested to ensure that you are working with the actual property owner.

3. Does the listing look too good to be true? Is the rent unusually low? Are there little to no qualifications to meet? Is the focus on providing funds in cash? If it looks too good to be true, it very well may be.

4. What kind of lease are you signing? Does it look general without any details, such as your name, owners name or property address? That may be a sign that the focus is not really on the lease agreement or documentation, but the end result – money handed over.

5. Remember, if you are swindled out of money by a scammer, it is difficult if not impossible to track them down and recover the funds. And you will sooner or later meet the real property owner or property manager – who may try to work with you. However, many tenants will not have the necessary funds to put a lease into effect or be prepared to pay the real monthly rent and, as a result, subject to vacate or be evicted.

So, be sure to either work with a Realtor or property manager or verify that the person you are working with is the real property owner. You will save yourself a lot of stress and money. For more blog posts, visit the Nicklin blog.