If you’re looking for a rental property in East Bay, the last thing you want is to get scammed. Scam artists like taking advantage of potential tenants because the emotions involved in apartment searches make them more vulnerable.
For example, if you feel too excited about moving to a new apartment, your enthusiasm might make you more trusting. Scam operators also prey on people who are desperate to find a new apartment because of things such as job relocation.
Luckily for you, there are precautions you can take to lower your likelihood of getting scammed. Read on to learn what they are.
Be Extra Careful
Don’t relax your guard when looking to move to a new apartment. Just because you use a popular apartment site doesn’t mean you’re safe from being conned. Unscrupulous landlords or scam artists posing as landlords can manage to list their houses on these sites. If something feels off or the whole experience just seems wrong, it’s advisable not to pursue it.
Avoid Someone Who Asks You to Send Money Before You See the Apartment
If you’re asked to send money without seeing the apartment, you should be concerned. It’s not common to pay for something you haven’t seen yet. Don’t just trust photos or promises. Visit the apartment you want to rent first. If you do not follow this rule, you’ll most likely be scammed.
Stay Away From Landlords in a Rush to Lease the Apartment
Most trustworthy landlords will want to see your credit score, get more information about you and even verify your employment. If a prospective landlord doesn’t seem eager to perform any tenant screening or appears in a rush to sign a lease with you, then something is wrong.
Back Out If You’re Asked to Pay a Really High Security Deposit
If the prospective landlord wants you to pay an unusually high deposit, or if there are too many upfront fees to be paid, then it could be a sign that they want to just take your money and disappear.
Avoid Landlords Who Apply Too Much Pressure
If you feel like the landlord is pressuring you to rent the apartment, the chances are high it could be a rental scam.
Don’t Rent If the Landlord Says You Don’t Need a Lease
While a lease is not required to rent an apartment, leases are the most common agreements when it comes to rental properties. If a landlord tries to get you to pay for an apartment without signing a lease, it could be a warning sign. Many times, the scam operator doesn’t have a lease for you to sign.
So, What’s the Bottom Line?
If you can’t see the apartment, meet the property owner and sign a lease before paying rent, it’s most likely a scam. You should run and rent elsewhere. Also do your research ahead of time based on the area where you want to rent — know the cost of a typical apartment in Hayward, California, for instance, so you can spot a price that’s way too high or too low, and skip those places.
What If You’ve Been Scammed Already?
If you fall victim to any of these scams, you should inform the police. The information you give law enforcement might help them apprehend the scammer, stop them from scamming others and get your money back. You can also call Marcotte Properties at 800-538-1724 or contact us through our website and discover more tips for how to avoid apartment scams near San Francisco.