The number of renters in the US grewby nearly 8 millionover the last decade – but sadly the rising number has resulted in a huge leap in property scams. In fact, these are so prevalent in South Carolina that the Columbia FBIrecently had to issue a statementto citizens about staying safe when looking for a home!
If you are looking for a place to rent, the last thing that you want to happen is to fall victim to a scam from a landlord
or a company. Thankfully it is entirely possible to avoid this; you need to be aware of the warning signs. Here are a few red flags that will help you to spot potential trouble.
The landlord asks for money before showing the property
It isn’t normal to hand over money before you’ve seen an apartment, even if the landlord acts like it is. For this reason, you should be concerned if someone asks you to make a payment before you see the place, even if they have shown you photos and promised that you could see it soon. This tactic may seem like an obvious way to steal money, but a warning on Craigslist states that trick accounts for 99% of the scams
on their website!
The Landlord Seems Overly Eager
A quality landlord will always want to know your credit score, your financial situation and what your job is before they are happy to rent to you. So if you are working with a landlord who seems overly eager, there is every chance they are not entirely legitimate, so you should probably walk away. This high-pressure sales technique is also used by people who run reverse mortgage scams, which attempt to con seniors out of their money
. When facing a high-pressure salesperson, firmly say no
and politely end the conversation.
The Landlord Says That You Don’t Need A Lease
You don’t always need a lease to live in an apartment, as some people use a month-by-month rental agreement. However, if your landlord asks for cash in hand instead, it could be a risky situation - especially if they don't want you to sign anything. For example, if your landlord asks you to leave and you have no official documents stating your renting agreement, you may not have a legal leg to stand on! It is easy to find a trustworthy, professional landlord if you are aware of the most common rental scams. Just make sure that you are in the know, and you shouldn’t have any problems!
Avoid scams from prospective landlords by checking reviews from WhoseYourLandlord.com/reviews. If you've been scammed by a landlord and would like to share your story with the Wyl community, please contact email@example.com.