Rental scams are always out there but they have been even more visible during the Covid-19 pandemic in California as thousands of renters are in transition and are searching for new rental properties
Thankfully, tenants can protect themselves from rental scams if they know what to look for.
In this article we will offer you several tips that will help you to avoid housing rental scams.
Tips For Avoiding Rental Scams
· Arrange to meet with the owner or agent to inspect the property prior to paying any money. If the “owner” is out of town or otherwise “unavailable” to show the property, or states the property may not be shown, look for another rental property.
· Be wary of advertisements offering a property at below market rent or at a significant discount.
· Do not pay for rent or security deposits with cash or using an online wire transfer.
· Whenever possible, deliver your payment to an open and established business and avoid sending money through the mail. Demand a signed lease agreement, receipt, and keys to a rental property in exchange for your initial payment.
· Obtain identification from and make note of whomever is claiming to have the authority to rent out the property.
· Be wary of people who claim to be a real estate or rental agent but provide a business card without a valid California Department of Real Estate (DRE) license number.
· Use websites that have visible and current customer feedback, ratings on landlords, and a reputation for secured transactions.
· To prevent your identity from being stolen, do not provide a social security number, driver’s license number, or bank account number until you have verified the person renting a property is actually authorized to do so.
· If a property is advertised by someone claiming to be a real estate agent, verify their credentials at the California Department of Real Estate website. (www.dre.ca.gov)
· If the rental listing is being advertised by a property management company, such companies are also licensed by the California Department of Real Estate and their credentials should be verified at the California Department of Real Estate website. (www.dre.ca.gov)
· The best practice is to work with a licensed real estate agent or property manager to find legitimate available rental properties. If an agent fails to perform due diligence and a consumer loses money as a result, the consumer may contact the California Department of Real Estate and may be able to seek restitution.
Contact RPM Central Valley
To search for rental properties in the Central Valley, contact RPM Central Valley today by calling us at (209) 572-2222 or click here to connect with us online.