There’s a scam going around that anyone who’s in the market for a rental home should be aware of. Here’s how it works:
Someone posts a fraudulent ad, usually online where it’s free (like on Craigslist) for a rental property at a smokin’ rate. When an unsuspecting tenant responds to the ad and agrees to rent the property, the con artist, posing as the owner, agrees to meet the tenant at a site other than the property to collect the deposit. He tells the tenant that the deposits are normally $1500 but that he’ll reduce them to $1250 if the tenant agrees to have the doors re-keyed, because the last tenant ran off with the keys. When the tenant hands over the deposit, the ‘landlord’ drives off and is never seen or heard from again.
To avoid being duped on a rental property, follow these tips:
- Never trust a deal that seems too good to be true. It probably is.
- Always inspect a property prior to purchase or rental. If the ‘owner’ has some story as to why he/she doesn’t have the keys, sever contact immediately and let the opportunity go.
- In many larger cities, tax records are readily available online in the public domain. Check the name on the tax record to see if it matches the name of the ‘landlord.’ If not, they’re not authorized to lease or sell the property. If so, feel free to ask to see identification prior to signing any contracts or handing over any money.
- To be safe, think about working with a Realtor. A Realtor is likely to spot a scam before it affects you.
Phoenix real estate and Scottsdale real estate scams are becoming more and more widespread in today’s tumultuous housing market, but a little bit of caution will help you from becoming an unwilling victim.