Finding cheap apartments for rent is a major priority for many renters in a market like Toronto, where mortgage rules and increasing prices have made it harder to buy. According to a recent survey, 64% of renters and landlords said they came across an advertisement or received an email that they suspected to be a rental scam.
Here's how some of these scams occur. Please note that this is basic information and needless to say, scammers are continuously developing new ways to defraud you.
Posing as a landlord on advertising websites such as Craigslist, the scammer pretends to be unreachable, either due to living overseas or simply by pretending to be too busy. The scammer then requires you to pay a deposit on the rental apartment and delivers you the keys. Once the money is paid, usually through a money transfer, you discover there isn't actually a rental home available. Your money is lost.
In case of vacation properties, renters are finding properties advertised online, sending money or payment information but later finding out that the property doesn't even exist.
A scammer has somehow obtained access to a property or place. They pose as a landlord / property manager and show the victim the property. They then request an immediate down payment to secure the property and inform the victim they can move in at a later date. On the move-in date, the victim arrives only to discover it wasn't actually an available rental home and there have been other victims as well.
More at Rental Frauds
If you recieve my monthly newsletter, you already know what steps to take to avoid falling a victim such scams. If you don't recieve them, then just send me an email.
Renting often involves paying a deposit. Make sure you know who you are paying to. Typically when renting through a professional REALTOR, your deposit is being held in a trust account, and is safe. If unsure, don't pay a deposit.
Fraud becomes more prevalent near the end of a term at university or college when students are attempting to sublet their apartments. Be extra cautious at this time.
If unsure of a rental transaction you are about to enter in, either as a landlord or as a tenant, call me at 647-287-4644. I have the tools to protect you. I have access to land registry and municipal ownership records that allow me to verify the identity of the owner of a property. Simply by calling me, you will find out if you are dealing with the actual landlord or a scammer.