Don’t fall victim to Rental Fraud
When it comes to finding a rental unit, you should always be cautious to ensure you are dealing with a fair and ethical landlord or company. While most rental apartments are legitimate, it’s crucial to do some research and keep your eyes peeled for signs that something isn’t quite on the up and up.
There are some below-standard practices out there, and it’s important to recognize the warning signs to avoid any hassles or extra expenses. After all, you’re looking for a safe and comfortable place to live in your price range, and you need to be sure it is as advertised. Here are a few tips to prevent being a victim of rental fraud.
Follow the “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” rule when searching for rental properties. Compare the price of the rental to similar units in the area — a rent price that’s too low can sometimes be worse than a price that’s too high. Search the rental address online to see if anything suspicious comes up. The more research you put into your rental, the less chance you’ll be fooled.
Never, ever, ever mail or transfer money just to view a unit. A respectable landlord will show a unit without asking for a monetary exchange. Most apartments have an application process after viewing. If you are accepted, you then pay your rent as laid out in your lease agreement.
When you see a listing you like, take note of how easily the landlord can be contacted and how quickly they’re able to show the unit. If they seem to delay you with poor excuses, or want a deposit up front before sorting out other details, it’s probably best to keep looking.
Talk to neighbours in the area to see what they have to say about the rental units. Do you know anyone who lives in, or has lived in, the building? Ask them how they like living there. You will get more honest answers from tenants than anonymous reviews online. If the people around you like the area and the building, you know you’ve landed on a great find.
Keep all receipts, emails, notes and documents from all your interactions with the property landlord or rental company. You never know when a date, dollar amount or name will come in handy. Keep these stored electronically or, for physical documents, in a fireproof safe.
Once you learn how to recognize the signs of rental fraud, you will have a better chance at finding your perfect apartment with no issues. Moving into a new rental is exciting, but it’s important to be selective and diligent when browsing properties and units.
Gottarent.com is a great tool for finding apartment rentals in your area. Check out the listings for apartments and houses for rent, including student housing.