It can be a thrilling experience when you find that ideal Smithville rental home. But when you’re examining the floorplan, neighborhood, and lease terms, don’t forget to check any rental listing for signs that it’s a scam. Regrettably, rental scams are all too widespread, perpetrated by dishonest landlords and fake rental listings eager to scam potential tenants out of their hard-earned money. For that reason, you must be cautious and research any rental property carefully. By knowing the red flags to look for and what to do if you think you’ve uncovered a scam, you can avoid falling victim to a rental scam situation.
Common Rental Scams
While there are various approaches that scammers try to fool consumers into giving them money, there are a few common rental scams you should be aware of. Probably the rental scam people encounter most often is where a person claiming to be a landlord advertises a property they don’t own, or that doesn’t exist.
Another typical tactic is to create misleading or downright fake advertising for a property that does exist but is not owned by the person listing the home for rent. These scammers may attempt to pressure you into sending them a deposit right away or begin to rush you into signing lease documents without touring the rental property first. Regrettably, it’s estimated that as many as 5.2 million renters have been scammed out of money by fraudulent listings.
Watch for Warning Signs
To avoid being scammed, there are usually some warning signs that things are wrong. If you identify what these signs are, you can spot a rental scam before you get victimized.
First, it is critical to do your research. Check the ad carefully for spelling errors, vague information, or a deal that sounds too good to be true. Chances are if it seems like an incredible bargain, it’s probably a scam. It would be best to talk to the professional Smithville property manager on the phone and arrange to view the property in person. If they demand a deposit first or claim to be out of the country, both of those are big red flags.
The same thing is true if the landlord insists on dealing only in cash or asks for a wire transfer. In the first case, cash-only rentals are unethical and probably illegal, so avoid them at all costs. Requesting a wire transfer is a tactic commonly used by scammers because, like cash, wire transfers are unrecoverable once sent. Regardless of what they claim the money is for, never give a landlord a deposit without signing a lease first.
Best Practices for Safe Renting
Probably the most efficient way to prevent getting scammed when looking for a rental home is to go through a reputable management company. While local property management operations may suggest a few listings, there is still no guarantee that they are dedicated to fair, ethical rental practices. The safest course of action is to choose a company with national credibility and a reputation for high-quality customer service. Apart from that, choosing the right property management company to rent from can speed up the process of finding and renting your new home, limiting your options to only those that fit your budget and lifestyle. This is the smarter and more efficient way of locating your ideal rental home.
If you’re searching for a new rental home but want to steer clear of any scams or misleading ads, your best option is to contact Real Property Management Principles. We are a top-ranking national company with local offices, the best of both worlds: you’ll get local rental market expertise from a respected organization you know you can rely on. Contact us today or check out our rental listings online.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.