How To Avoid The 5 Most Common Rental Scams

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017
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Renting a new home is exciting, but trying to find the right place can sometimes be stressful. You might end up worrying about having enough money for the deposit or competition from other potential renters. This is why most people do not move frequently from rent house to rent house. You can avoid some frustration in this process if you understand that there are rental scams out there mixed in with the legitimate rent homes. Here are five of the most common scams and how you can avoid them.

Asking you for money before you are shown the house

If you are asked for a wire transfer of money before the owner or landlord actually shows you the rent house, do not make this transaction. You should never be asked for money in order to see a rent house. Unfortunately, scammers have gotten better at making fake listings look legitimate. A money transfer is almost impossible to stop, unlike a check or credit card charge. Even if you think their listing is legitimate, avoid anyone who wants to be paid upfront when showing you a rental.

Real estate services scam

Why would you pay $200, or any amount, with help looking for a rent house when you can search for rental listings online for free? Scammers that offer real estate services often use a list of properties with prices that look too good to be true. The list they offer can be populated with expired and fake listings, as well as actual listings from real landlords. Remember that you do not have to pay to view rental listings to avoid this scam.

A landlord who is missing in action

This type of scammer must use some creativity when setting up their scam. They usually find a home that is owned by a bank, a vacation home, or one they have already rented out to someone. This unscrupulous person then claims to be sick, have an emergency, or that they are out of the country to avoid meeting you at the property. This does not stop them from asking for a security deposit and first and last month’s rent. Never pay any fees to any landlord before signing a legitimate contract. Legitimate landlords will arrange for someone to meet you at the home and show you the inside of the unit before signing any paperwork.

Advertisements that have been copied and pasted

This type of ad starts out legitimately posted by a landlord and is usually a compelling description of a true home for rent. However, the scammer copies this ad and pastes the listing, changing the price to a much lower offering. This is also called a “clone scam.” The criminal is targeting people from out of town who want to put money down before they see the rent house. They may also ask for an unusually high security deposit. Scammers are simply trying to get as much money out of you as quickly as possible before they disappear. If you see multiple ads for rent houses, be sure that you can contact the landlord and see the property in person. Taking these steps will help you avoid a copied listing scam.

Your deposit is withheld

There are times when you rent legitimately and the landlord behaves as they should through the lease. Then, when it is time for your deposit to be released back to you when you move out, they make excuses. They may say that they are mailing you a check, but it never shows up. Another excuse they may use is to claim excessive damage in the home, so your deposit is forfeited. You can protect yourself from this by taking pictures before you move in and at move-out to prove that you did not cause any damage. If your deposit is not returned, send a certified mail request for the landlord to return it to you. If that does not work, consider taking them to small claims court.

When searching for a rent house, it is important to know how to find legitimate landlords and avoid scammers. If you would like to learn more about renting a home in Amarillo, Texas, contact the professionals at Highland Park Village today. We offer a unique rental experience at great prices. You can call us at (806) 335-1451 or Contact Us via email to learn more About Us. Don’t forget to look at our available Floor Plans and our Specials! You can alo visit us in person at 13300 Bandera Dr in Amarillo.