Caveat Emptor – Finding a rental safely and securely

We have all heard the term Caveat Emptor, or Buyer Beware. Well, how about Renter Beware. The internet has given us all access to unlimited information. In addition we have access to misinformation, deceptive information and down right dishonest information. Herein lies the problem.

In recent times we have seen Scammers glean information on properties that are either for sale or rent, reformat the information and place it on various lists and web sites as a property for rent. Unsuspecting renters are asked to just “Drive by the property, and if you like it, send me a deposit.” Contacts are usually by e-mail, text, or even phone. You never really meet the scammer. The usual excuse is something like, “I am on a sabbatical,” or “I had a sudden job transfer and can’t be back in town.” Once that deposit check is in the mail the scammer is long gone and the renter is out of luck.

What can you do to protect yourself from this type of scammer? If you are looking to rent in your local area, you can go to a local reputable Real Estate or Property Management firm. They can provide you with rental listings and help you through the application process. If you are dealing with an individual owner, you should always meet them face to face. Ideally, meet the owner at the property and be sure they have keys for the unit. Be very wary of an owner who is too anxious to get your deposit “on the spot” with no application process.

If you are moving to a new area and need to find a rental, before you head out, go to a Real Estate or Property Management company in your area and ask for a referral to your new area. Many companies have built relationships with other companies over the years or belong to a referral network that specializes in relocation. This will allow you to not only find a rental in your new city, but you can also get lots of information about the area before you go. You can get information on transportation, schools, hospitals, etc. Take advantage of the professionals in your area to help guide you through the maze.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact us.


Posted by:  Larry Smyth

Share Your Thoughts...


Equal Housing Opportunity. Equal Opportunity Employer.