Scammers are in Austin, and they’re pretty convincing. One woman who spent weeks looking for a place to rent fell prey to a scam. The home for rent was listed on Zillow, and she emailed who she thought was the owner. They sent the deposit, dog deposit, and first month’s rent, which added up to $5,200. But when she went to meet the owner at the property, he never showed or responded.
The Better Business Bureau says this is a growing trend and happening more frequently, especially in Austin, where many people are moving. Most scams require you to wire funds, so do not wire funds to anyone you haven’t personally met.
How To Identify A Rental Scam
1. They don’t want to meet you in person.
People are busy, and schedules may not coordinate for a meet-up, and that’s okay. If that’s the case, at least do a video call with the owner/landlord to know the property exists. A good landlord would want to meet you, in person or digitally, as they should know who is renting out their place.
2. They want you to move in without seeing the property.
Visit and tour the property before signing a lease or sending money to someone. It’s easy for scammers to take old listing photos from past posts and pretend they have the property. Scammers won’t have access to the inside, so if you can’t see the place or tell you to just walk around outside of it, be wary.
3. They ask for rent or a security deposit before signing a lease.
An apartment can be a scam if the property manager, landlord, or realtor asks for rent or a security deposit before signing a lease. You should never be asked to give a large sum of money before seeing or signing a lease. Application fees are normal and acceptable, but the first month’s rent or security deposit is not.
4. There’s no screening process.
A good landlord will want to know who’s renting from them and take the proper precautions to screen a tenant. Most landlords will have a screening process to make sure they screen quality tenants. So, if a tenant does not require a rental application and credit check, this is a red flag. This means the landlord doesn’t care about having a good tenant, or they’re inexperienced; both are causes to be suspicious.
If you’re a renter looking for places to rent in Austin or an investor who needs help renting out their property, contact me! Reach out to TALK Property Management– We are here to help: (512) 721-1094 or email@example.com.