How to Spot and Avoid a Rental Scam

key in door scam

While you may not be on the lookout for a rental scam, keeping your eyes peeled for potential frauds is always in your best interest. Whether you’re searching for your first apartment, settling in while your dream home is being built, or putting your roots down in a new city, finding the perfect rental can be a long and confusing process. 

Check out Staples & Associates quick tips to help you spot and avoid common rental scams.

How to Spot a Rental Scam

  • Be Suspicious of Unusually Low Rent: If you find a rental home that is priced well below other competitors in the area, this may be an indicator of a fake listing. Scammers easily copy and paste from an actual listing to a fraudulent one with low rental prices. This scam is often directed towards people who are moving from out of town, and others who put money down sight-unseen. Proceed with caution and always try to see the listing in person before putting any money down. 
  • Do Not Provide Money Upfront: There is no need for you to give the landlord money before you see a place or sign a lease. If you’re asked to pay upfront, you should walk away. Be especially on the lookout if the landlord is insisting on a wire transfer, these can be exceptionally difficult to stop. 
  • Be Suspicious if You Can’t See the Property: A common scam is for someone to play a vacant property off as their rental property. Signs of this are when it comes time for you to view the property, and they suddenly fall sick, or are unexpectedly out of town and won’t give you the address. Be extra cautious if, despite all this, they still ask for rent or a security deposit upfront. 
  • Avoid Overeager Landlords: When you apply for a rental home, you’ll likely be asked for financial information, employment verification, and possibly even a background check. If a landlord does not do much screening or is overly willing to negotiate the lease with you, this may be cause for concern. Scammers often want to rush the process, so they have your money before you realize that something is wrong. If you’re feeling pressured by your potential landlord, you might want to walk away. 

Follow your instincts and walk away from any situation that doesn’t seem right!

When you do find your perfect rental, contact Staples & Associates for more information on Renters Insurance and be sure that you’re covered no matter what! For more information, contact a Staples & Associates agent today!