Look out for scammers when renting - You’re on the lookout for a new place to rent, and you spot a board with an agent’s details. The place appear like exactly what you’re looking for, so you give the agent a call, and a few days later you’re signing the lease to your dream home. Sounds easy right? Well in theory, that’s exactly how it should work, but sadly there are many unscrupulous folks out there looking to separate you from your hard-earned money.
When renting, as with any other transaction, it’s always important to be aware of potential scams and to take extra care when closing the deal. Simply put, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So what are some of the things that should ring alarm bells when renting a property?
First off, don’t accept anything at face value. The advert that you saw may have included pictures of the property, and possibly offered a rental price below market value or the average price for the area. Fraudsters do their homework, and know exactly which bait will lure unsuspecting potential renters. Next, when you want to view the property, the ‘agent’ will be reluctant to let you do so, often spinning stories and providing ‘reasons’ why this isn’t possible. They’ll also often pressure you to sign a ‘lease agreement’, or even pay a cash deposit fee upfront to secure the property. These are all red flags!
A legitimate rental agent will do everything in their power to make sure that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision about a property. They’ll arrange for you to see the property as many times as you need to, and be forthcoming and upfront with information, answering all of your questions and setting your mind at ease. They won’t have a problem with you running any contractual documents by your legal advisor if that’s something you’d like to do.