Words a landlord always wants to hear about a vacancy they are trying to rent. When can I view it? Can I stop by tomorrow for a tour? Is the rent negotiable? Interest, a possible tenant and they are willing to view in person. Your first instinct – YES!
I’m sure you’ve heard of scam listings, usually they are the other way around with a misrepresented property for rent. Today I want to talk about scammers posing as a potential renter. While the role is reversed, they do very similar things. I find these in my daily routine on listings I place for clients and lately on my scam warning postings. Yes, the postings that are not a rental at all, located in the housing section warning others searching for housing that scams are out there.
They are bold and confident, trying to find a way for you to take MORE up front than what you are asking by negotiating a lower rent. For instance, say you have a rental for $600 listed. They send you this email – Can I stop by tomorrow for a tour? Is the rent negotiable? They already have you hooked, because they indicate they are willing to meet you in person. So, it couldn’t possibly be a scam right? WRONG!
The second part to their email – Is the rent negotiable? – Should be a big red flag. They are hoping you’ll agree to accept a lower rent payment but take a large payment up front. They may suggest an amount of $550/mo. instead but they are willing to pay 6 months in advance. Wow, sounds like a great deal right? $3300 up front to pay for 6 months of rent. No late payments, no hassles. Don’t fall for it.
These scammers are hoping you’ll take their bogus cashiers check, money order, etc. and have you deposit it your bank. They may even make an appointment to view, delay due to whatever reason, but send the money for you to hold the unit. You deposit the money, thinking you have a valid renter. The appointment to view gets extended yet again. Now, for some unknown reason they are all of a sudden not able to take the unit. They request their money back – maybe you hold back the deposit fee, maybe not. But, you refund the rent amount since they never moved in.
Shock! Now you’re out not only the money you refunded, but now your bank is calling telling you you’re responsible for a fake cashier’s check in the amount of $3300! Yikes! Then, you find out they aren’t even in the US so you can’t prosecute them. Sue, you can report it to the FTC, provide the details, emails, etc. but the chances you’ll ever see the money are almost nil.
If you cannot meet the potential tenant IN PERSON, do not deposit any type of payment period. Save yourself the headache, hassle and protect your pocketbook.
Have you run across any scam ads or responses to your ads? Do you have a real life experience to tell about one? I’d love to hear about them, please feel free to share.
Lori Hartjoy is the owner of Blue Mountain Rentals, established in 2011. As well as being a devoted mother of 3 toddlers, she provides over 20 years of clerical experience to her clients. Her background includes processing employment, tenant screening, background checks and working as a property manager and payroll clerk for a major telecommunications corporation.
The information contained on this blog and from any communication related to the Blue Mountain Rentals website is provided for informational purposes only. All information you choose to use is at “your own risk”. Please visit www.bluemtnrentals.com for more information on how Blue Mountain Rentals can provide a win-win solution for your housing needs.
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