When you locate that perfect Oakland rental home, it can be an exhilarating time. But just as you’re checking out the floorplan, neighborhood, and lease terms, don’t forget to check any rental listing for signs that it’s a scam. Lamentably, rental scams are all too common, perpetrated by dishonest landlords and fake rental listings eager to scam potential tenants out of their hard-earned money. That’s why it is so important to stay vigilant and research any rental property carefully. By knowing the red flags to look for and what to do if you think you’ve seen a scam, you can avoid falling victim to a rental scam situation.
Common Rental Scams
While there are several different examples that scammers trying to fool people into giving them money, there are a few common rental scams you should be aware of. Most likely the rental scam people encounter most often is where a person claiming to be a landlord advertises a property they don’t own, or that doesn’t exist.
The other common tactic is to create deceiving or downright fake advertising for a property that does exist but is not owned by the person listing the home for rent. These scammers may try to pressure you into sending them a deposit right away or try to rush you into signing lease documents without touring the rental property first. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that as many as 5.2 million renters have been scammed out of money by fraudulent listings.
Watch for Warning Signs
So as to avoid being scammed, there are typically some warning signs that things aren’t quite right. If you realize what these signs are, you can spot a rental scam before you get taken in.
First, make sure to do your research. Examine the ad carefully for spelling errors, vague information, or a deal that sounds too good to be true. Chances are if it seems like an incredible bargain, it’s probably a scam. Make sure to talk to the professional Oakland property manager on the phone and arrange to view the property in person. If they demand a deposit first or claim to be out of the country, both of those are big red flags.
The same thing is true if the landlord insists on dealing only in cash or asks for a wire transfer. In the first case, cash-only rentals are unethical and most likely illegal, so it’s best to avoid them. Requesting a wire transfer is a tactic commonly used by scammers because, like cash, wire transfers are unrecoverable once sent. No matter what they claim the money is for, never give a landlord a deposit without signing a lease first.
Best Practices for Safe Renting
One of the best ways to avoid getting scammed as you search for a rental home is to go through a reputable management company. While local property management operations may offer a few listings, there is still no guarantee that they are committed to fair, ethical rental practices. The safest course of action is to choose a company with national credibility and a reputation for high-quality customer service. What is more, choosing the right property management company to rent from can make finding and renting your new home easier, narrowing your options to only those that fit your budget and lifestyle. This is the smarter and more efficient way to find your next rental home.
If you are looking for a new rental home but want to steer clear of any scams or misleading ads, your best option is to contact Real Property Management Masters. We are a top-ranking national company with local offices, the best of both worlds: you’ll get local rental market expertise from a respected organization you know you can trust. Contact us today or check out our rental listings online.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.