Renters Beware

If a rental asking price seems to good to be true, it almost certainly is!

Scammers have been targeting unsuspecting tenants by offering properties in top locations, via websites like Gumtree and Flatmates.com, at vastly reduced prices.

Problem is, the scammers, who are often acting as overseas landlords, or may even appear to be branded as agents, ask for an upfront payment to secure the property or the keys for an inspection.

The one constant is that the agent or landlord is never available to show the prospective tenant the property.

Once money has been wired overseas, tenants wait for the keys and paperwork to arrive. Of course, it never does.

Some 220 unsuspecting people lost an estimated $40,000 in rental scams last year. Make sure you’re not one of them next time you are shopping for a new home.

Follow these tips and you’ll be fine:
  • Be immediately cautious of unusually low rental asking prices.
  • Insist on an appointment to inspect the property.
  • Do not deal with an owner or agent who makes excuses about why they can’t meet you at the property and/or insists on an upfront payment.
  • Be wary of shared accommodation websites.
  • No matter how real the advert looks, don’t forget all the information could have been copied from a legitimate agent’s website.
  • Avoid money transfers.
  • If the property is overseas, ask somebody you trust to make enquiries on your behalf in the country concerned.