How To Avoid Being Duped Into Rental Fraud

Posted on: 3 January 2016


Rental fraud is a problem that occurs when scammers rent out houses and apartments to people when they really do not own the rental properties themselves. If this problem happens to you, it could cause you to lose money, time, and peace in your life. Here are some tips that will help you avoid being scammed like this if you are looking for a place to rent.

Common Red Flags To Know About

If you want to rent a house or apartment and do not want to fall prey to this scam, there are numerous steps you can take. There are also several common signs that should alert you that an apartment you are looking at might be part of a rental fraud scheme. Here are some of the common signs that you should consider red flags:

  • The owner of the property is trying to rush the deal
  • Your communications occur primarily through email or text
  • The monthly rental rate is lower than it should be
  • There is stuff in the apartment or house the prior tenant (owner) left behind

If you see any of these signs or if you feel that something does not seem right, do not go through with the deal right away. You could first check with your local courthouse to determine who owns the property. This is part of public records and you have the right and ability to find this out.

Physically Examining The Property Is Helpful

Another good tip is to make sure you physically examine a property inside and out before agreeing to rent it. Renting something sight-unseen is often a factor in rental fraud, and you can avoid this by thoroughly examining a property first. As you look at it, check the doors and locks. This is a great way to see signs of break-ins and this could alert you of an issue.

You may also want to ask the landlord for copies of previous utility bills from the property. If the landlord provides these, look carefully at the name and address on the bills to make sure they match the house you are looking at and the person renting to you.

If you find a place you really like but it seems too good to be true, there is a good chance it is. By taking the proper steps, you can protect yourself from rental fraud. To learn more and to safely rent an apartment, contact a property management firm that offers apartment rentals. Companies like Pacific Properties may be able to meet your needs.