How to Recognize – Avoid Apartment Rental Scams, apartment rental agreement.#Apartment #rental #agreement
Apartment Rental Scams – How to Recognize and Avoid Them
If you re looking for an apartment, the last thing you want is to fall victim to a rental scam. Scam artists like to take advantage of prospective tenants because emotions involved in the apartment-hunting process can make people more vulnerable.
For instance, if you re feeling excitement and enthusiasm about finding a new home, your eagerness might make you become more trusting. Scam artists also prey on apartment hunters who are in a time crunch (because of a job relocation or personal issue, for example) and are desperate to find a new place as soon as possible.
Fortunately, there are ways apartment hunters can lower the likelihood of getting caught up in a rental scam.
What Is a Rental Scam?
Rental scams are a variation on a theme. The scammer tries to get money from a prospective tenant for an apartment that the scammer is in no legal position to rent.
The apartment might be real (in which case, the scammer doesn t have the authority to lease it) or fictitious. The scammer could be a real landlord or, more likely, an impostor.
Scammers typically try to get money from unsuspecting apartment hunters, then disappear. For example, a tenant who s vacating his apartment might decide to show it, pretending to be the landlord. He might lead all prospects to believe they re getting that apartment, and collect fees and security deposits upfront. Once the prospects realize they ve been scammed, the scammer has usually vanished with their money.
Follow the General Rule
Don t let your guard down when looking for an apartment. Just because you use a reputable apartment search Web site doesn t mean you can t get scammed by unscrupulous landlords or people posing as landlords who manage to get their listings onto these sites.
If something feels wrong with a listing, the application process feels rushed, or the whole experience just seems to good to be true, it may be wise not to pursue it.
Avoid Common Red Flags
Here are some common red flags to help you spot and avoid rental scams while looking for an apartment:
- You re asked to send money without having met anyone or seen the apartment. It s not common to pay a lot of money for something sight-unseen. So, if a landlord expects you to pay a lot before you lease an apartment, it s a reason to be concerned. Don t rely on promises or photos. Actually visit any apartment you re considering renting. According to a warning on Craigslist, not following this one rule accounts for 99% of scam attempts.
- You feel unwarranted sales pressure. If a landlord acts too pushy, it can be a red flag.
- The landlord has a convenient excuse for not being able to meet you or show the property. The person behind a listing might say he s out of the country indefinitely or that he won t return until after you would need to agree to the rental and pay money.
What If You Get Scammed?
If you become the victim of an apartment scam in the United States, you might feel there s not much you can do. But there are steps you can take to help catch who s behind the scam, get your money back, and put this unfortunate experience in the past.