Rental market scams are on the rise across the United States as scammers are eager to prey on renters who are looking for affordable rental properties.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever before for renters to avoid rental market scams because most scammers are typically trying the same old tricks as before and when a renter knows what to lookout for, they can protect themselves.
Tips For Avoiding Rental Market Scams
1. Dealing In Cash Is A Bad Start
The most popular way of performing shady money operations is working in cash only. The reason why it’s so important for crooks to deal with real dollars is the fact that this money simply cannot be traced.
So, once you’ve paid them the money for a new cozy place, they have all the time in the world to get away with your money.
A landlord who aims to scam you will always insist on paying cash and will simply move on to the next prospect if you refuse.
Always remember that such things as a security deposit and paying the last month upfront should never involve cash, wire transfers. They are constantly becoming a part of rental scams.
2. Never Rent Without Having A Look At The Actual Place
Having a chance to look at the place you plan to rent should be the number one priority for you and once this requirement is not met, you can skip that landlord.
Any landlord who is really planning to rent out the place is ready to show it and confirm that it actually looks like the pictures he provided on the website. Schedule the open house visit and evaluate the real property condition.
This also goes to those who are trying to rent a place in the other city while working on the relocation process. Basically, even if this situation you should ensure that your friend, family member or your trustee pays a visit to the landlord’s unit and takes a look at it.
Even though there are lots of scammers who actually have access to the property, insisting on a house tour is a huge step towards a more transparent rental process.
3. Always Sign A Written Lease
The only form of lease that you should consider is a written one. We have already discussed the verbal agreement in one of our previous posts, make sure you check it out it’s a few minutes read.
This is simple: even though some states allow oral agreements (for example, Maryland), there is always a chance that you’ll have to take this case to the court and this will become a real headache for you, all these cases are really hard to resolve.
All lease contracts should be signed by both parties: a homeowner and a tenant.
If you decide to deal with a physically existing contract, you’ll have to make sure:
- That landlord’s sign is there to (the best way to achieve that is signing the lease in the presence of each other right after you decide to rent the house)
- That you get a copy of this contract, not only the landlord
Expert tip: You can eSign the rental agreement with a landlord through Rentberry and forget about faxing and running around the city with the paper contract. Learn how to do eSign your lease with Rentberry.
These two basic rules should make life much easier and safer for you, but there is one more thing I want to review closer regarding the contract.
4. Identify The Owner Of The Property
Prior to going ahead and signing the lease agreement you should ask for the homeownership documents that prove that you’re dealing with a person who has all the rights to rent out this place. This will help you understand that this whole deal is legit.
Avoid anyone who’s telling you that the documents will be sent to you later, a real homeowner doesn’t have any reasons to avoid showing you the documents.
When you see the ownership documents and the name there doesn’t match with the name of the landlord, there is nothing to do here.
5. Make Sure Your Lease Identifies The Owner As Well
Your lease agreement should include the actual homeowner’s name in order to ensure that the house is rented out legally. Anyone who is trying to personate a trustee or says that he’s working on behalf of the owner should have the corresponding documents proving this fact.
This, by the way, also goes to the situations where the documents state that this house has two owners, cause in this case, you should ask for a written confirmation from the second owner that he is aware of the rental process and approves the rental agreement.
Contact RPM Central Valley
For more tips on avoiding rental market scams, or to speak with us about rental properties in the Central Valley, contact us today at (209) 572-2222, or click here to connect with us online.