Consumers Beware of Rental Scams!

The Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association has recently warned members and the public to be wary of rental scams in the market.  Several Realtor® associations across the nation have seen an increase in fraudulent internet real estate listings.

In particular, listings on Craigslist and Hotpads have seen a higher number of fraudulent rentals.  These sites have been quick to remove the posts once reported, but you must be aware that there are scam artists out there waiting to take advantage of you.

Many scams involve a rental available for a property that is actually listed for sale.  The victim is told that the homeowner is out of town but to drive by the property and see if they’d be interested.    The home will usually be listed for a much lower monthly payment than would be normal, so it would seem like a great deal.   The prospective renter is told that the owner will have to overnight the keys if they decide they want it, but they must receive the first month’s rent and deposit first.  Some people desperate for a great deal and in a competitive rental market have been duped by this scam, so be very wary of this.

Don’t assume that because the person has an e-mail address that matches the name of the property owner in public records that it’s legitimate.  Anyone can access those records.  If the property is listed, first and foremost check with the listing agent to see if this is a real rental or a scam.  The listing agent can give you the most accurate information.

You can also always explore options to purchase a home.  With rates at historic lows, it’s more affordable to buy vs. renting right now anyway.  So, you may want to just skip renting anyway and take advantage of the best opportunity in years!

Check out our current listings here:

Breakfast

Some information for this article was obtained from the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association & Houston Realtor® Magazine.

 

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