Rental scammers are more rampant than ever, with an estimated 3 million cases of rental fraud annually. If you’re looking to avoid the scam, here are several steps to take before signing your agreement.
1. Read The Agreement Carefully
Fraudsters use buzz words to lure you in and then change their terms to your disadvantage. Stay away from wording such as all paid, for life, or non-refundable fee.
2. Know What the Landlord Owns, And What They Don’t
Know what you’re paying for, and know that you’ll be responsible for the property even after you leave it. For example, a landlord is not liable for damage done by pets if that pet is not allowed on the premises.
3. Know The Limits of Your Personal Property
Scam artists may fail to deliver the agreed-upon personal property and will claim you are liable for any damages resulting from its delivery.
4. Know What It Means to Vacate
If you contract to stay in the house longer than you need, or if you unexpectedly change your plans, be sure to mark your calendar before signing the lease agreement so that you can leave when you need.
5. Know What Happens If You Break the Lease
Scam artists will charge hefty fees for breaking a lease. Some will even more frighteningly hold your property for ransom until the payment fee.
6. Verbal Agreements Are Always Negotiable
Be wary of any oral agreement that is out-of-line with industry standards or writing specifications. They can be an easy dispute on A verbal agreement later if you have no evidence to back it up.
7. Get Everything in Writing
A rental scam is based on an oral agreement that will not hold up in court. Make sure you have all terms, including the names of any roommates or guarantors, spelled out clearly so that you don’t end up with a false lease agreement.
8. Verification Doesn’t Need to Take a Long Time
If your landlord tells you they need to verify some of your information, they could be running your credit or checking other agencies, which is perfectly normal and should not be suspicious at all.
9. Keep Communication Open
Even if you’re uneasy about a landlord, try to be polite in your contact with them. Don’t ignore their calls or emails. Also, be sure to report any changes in your contact information immediately to contact you correctly if they need to. It can help keep scammers at bay because they have no way to reach you except through the address and phone number you provide them with.
10. Don’t Wire Money
If a scammer asks for an advance payment, especially by wire, please be cautious. The scammer could have an accomplice posing as a real estate agent or rental company representative who answers your emails and phone calls. They will give you all the information to complete the transaction, including bank account numbers and phone numbers to wire the money. However, once you give them this information and your money wired, it is tough to recover it. To avoid that, apply for residence through Industry Cincinnati.
11. Be Wary of Any Rental Agent You Do Not Know
Don’t use anyone you don’t trust to handle any financial transactions with because they are in a great position to take advantage of your good intentions.
12. Always Get a Written Receipt for All Requested Information
Never provide personally identifiable information to individuals who contacted you about renting a home or apartment and ask for it by email or phone.
13. Wait Until the Check Clears Before Signing the Lease
This is especially important with a large down payment. If the scammers want you to pay more than the deposit, arrange to meet in person and pay them cash, then sign the lease.
14. Be Sure You’re Dealing with A Reputable Rental Agency or Real Estate Agent
The scammers will ask for a commission from the scammer to do your leasing for you, or they may have a friend pose as an agent who will help in your search for an apartment lease.
15. Follow All Government Rules and Regulations On Renting and Selling or Buying A Home
You don’t want to leave yourself open to criminal prosecution for breaking any laws related to renting and buying real estate or a car. Always get the required information in writing and stay within all the rules.
Rental scams are on the rise, so be sure to follow all of these tips to avoid them. Call your credit card company or bank immediately and report the scam if you notice any suspicious signs. If a landlord or property manager acts extremely suspiciously, the best thing is to walk away from the deal.