How To Avoid The 5 Most Common Rental Scams

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017
speech bubble

(Updated 07/28/2023)

Rental scams can leave renters without a place to live and without their money. Fortunately, you’ll find several ways to avoid these scams in this helpful guide! Staying vigilant and learning about common rental scams can go a long way to protecting your finances and getting the rent home you want.

1. Meet the landlord in person

Reliable landlords and property managers will have no problem wanting to meet you in person and show you their available property. Scammers will make excuses or put off showing you a listing while still trying to get money out of you. Be suspicious of someone who presents a rental but refuses to meet you. Some common excuses may include:

  • They have a sick family member
  • They’re dealing with an emergency
  • They aren’t currently in the country
  • They’re simply too busy to find time

If they’re all too eager to take your money but can’t make time to meet, they’re probably a scammer. In the event a legitimate landlord is unavailable, they should still offer a virtual tour via video to show their listing is the real deal.

2. Don’t pay for rental assistance

You should not have to spend money simply to browse and compare rental listings. Steer clear of anyone offering their real estate “services” for finding a good rental. Real estate agents are excellent when you’re looking to purchase your first home, but you should never pay to have an “agent” show you a list of rentals.

These concepts can cause scammers to steal thousands of dollars from real renters. Here’s how you can look for a real listing:

  • Check the legitimacy of the rental listing site and the person behind it.
  • Book an in-person viewing, and meet the property manager at the same time.
  • Avoid listings with spelling errors, typos, and other issues as much as possible.

3. View properties in-person before making decisions

Stay far away from anyone who wants money before showing you the house. You should know the kind of property you’re getting when you rent, as well as the condition to help with your security deposit. Rental scams will prey on people looking for an immediate unit and demand money, usually blocking them and deleting their profile soon after the victim pays.

4. Sign a lease before sending money

Many rental listing scams want you to send money before signing any sort of agreement. While application fees are normal, paying a security deposit, additional fee, and first month’s rent prior to agreeing to anything is a major red flag. Don’t send any wire transfers, online payments, or money in the mail to someone you haven’t researched or formed a legitimate agreement with.

5. Avoid suspicious or overly fair rentals

Unfortunately, if a rental listing is too good to be true, it probably is. Some predatory landlords will switch an affordable rental out with a more expensive rate after they’ve got someone to sign. Not only is this frustrating, but it also is wrong.

Some scammers might directly copy the information from legitimate rentals multiple times to get more money. They want potential renters to compete for this “fair deal,” allowing them to make as much money as they can before bouncing. If you see a situation like this, you can file a complaint with the listing site, Internet Crime Complaint Center, or both.

Planning on renting a home in Amarillo, Texas?

Now that you know how to avoid common rental scams, you can find a rent home with confidence! Highland Park Village in Amarillo, Texas offers a high-quality renting experience and reasonable prices. Call our team today at (806) 335-1451 to learn about our Floor Plans and available properties!