That being said, rental scams are quite common. Just like with all investments, you need to protect yourself when renting a property.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep yourself and your finances safe from harm.
Don’t fall for unrealistic deals
You’ve heard the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” This principle applies very well to rental scam safety.
A good landlord will know what the rental value of their property is, probably more than you would. Research surrounding rental properties to determine a fair monthly rent. If the rent being asked for a specific property is well below that amount, there’s a chance the offer isn’t legitimate.
Especially when searching for rentals online, you should always see the property in person before sending any money.
Do your research
Whether the property you’re looking into is rented by an individual or by a property management firm, you can probably verify their identity using the internet.
If you’re looking to learn more about a property management firm, look online for a website or social media presence. If either or both of those exist, dig even further and look for past tenants’ reviews of the company. Yelp, Google and popular social media platforms are great places to start.
Don’t send money in unusual ways
In 2018, all valid businesses or professional landlords should accept cash, check and credit or debit card.
If you ever have a landlord or property management firm ask you to send money via Western Union, Moneygram or a similar wiring service, you should decline.
Please note, however, that some apartments or rental companies do have their own valid rental payment platforms. To verify these, however, all you need to do is speak with a trusted official of the company and ask if the payment platform is genuine or a scam.
One last note: Rent.com never facilitates payments or lease transfers. If you are ever approached by a property manager with a claim that Rent.com is facilitating any part of a financial transaction, you should cease all communication with that person and report the incident immediately.