Finding an apartment is tough enough as it is, and when you factor in an increasing amount of rental scams, it can be daunting. Where do I start? How do I avoid being scammed? Don’t worry, Rental Beast has you covered. We talked with our in-house experts and real estate agents on how you can better protect yourself from rental fraud, and recognize rental scams.
Rental scams come in multiple varieties but can be broken down into five basic categories:
- Already Leased: A posing landlord will collect the application fee and/or the security deposit for an apartment already leased.
- Bait and Switch: The most common of rental scams. A landlord posts a listing but brings you to a different unit and tries to collect fees.
- Fake Apartments: Someone posing as a landlord posts non-existent rentals with ridiculous prices to lure prospects.
- Amenities are Missing: A common type of fraud where the listing indicates specific amenities that are not in the property.
- Fake Ads: Scam artists post listings and ads for a legitimate property but with their own contact information in attempt to defraud potential renters.
Now that you can identify scams, it will be easier to avoid them. Do your research before going to a showing. Make sure to confirm the address, building number, and unit number with the listing agent or landlord. Drive by the apartment before you schedule to avoid a bait and switch or a fake listing. Once you make it to the showing, bring a list of the things you want confirmed. Make sure all the listed amenities are present, and verify things like water pressure, heating and cooling, and noise levels.
You’ll want to thoroughly read through the lease before signing anything. Getting an apartment is an exciting time, but don’t let that excitement blind you. Either have an agent or legal counsel attend the showing with you to make sure you aren’t signing something you will regret.
If you are ever unsure about a rental property or worried you may be walking into a scam, contact us here at Rental Beast. Our team of hyper-local real estate experts will happily assist you and ensure that you are protected from any form of rental scam. Our agents are trained to identify scams, as well as provide you with all the information you need to find your next home.
We hope you enjoyed this latest installment of Rental Beast How-to. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts containing the expert real estate information you need to succeed in the real estate market.