It is a well known fact that to be able to get on the property ladder, first time home buyers need to save up for years to be able to afford a mortgage. To a lesser extent, the same applies if you are looking to move into your first rental property; the initial rent and deposits required can represent a significant portion of a tenants’ nest-egg therefore falling victim to a rental scam at this time can be a major blow.
Long-term renters may know what to look out for and what to avoid through their experience in the rental market, but if you are new to leasing a property the following tips will help prepare you on how not to be scammed.
Common Rental Property Scams
There are a variety of scams through which first-time tenants can end up losing their valuable time and money with some of the following being the most common:
- Landlords who insist on communicating exclusively by phone or email.
- Property owners that are hard to get hold of and are always ‘away,’ or ‘out of the country’.
- Landlords who rush you into agreeing to a lease before you are ready
- Renters that insist on cash payments or other forms of hard-to-trace payment methods.
- Scammers that use existing listings to lure unsuspecting renters
- Even telltale signs such as poor grammar or spelling can be a warning to prospective tenants
Your first Rental Property – How not to be Scammed
As a first time renter, the most important factor to remember is due diligence, as being scammed when you’re a sitting tenant can be a very stressful and difficult time. This involves being cautious during your property search and finding out as much as you can about the home and its owner. Other tips to remember include:
- Always insist on meeting the landlord in person to be shown around the property
- Avoid going direct for your first property and acquiring one through a registered, reputable estate agent in the area instead.
- Never agree to leasing a property without seeing its condition in person
- Find out more about your future landlord by speaking to their current tenants
- Be aware of the going rate for rental properties in your chosen area and compare that with the proposed rent for your prospective property.
Landlord and rental scams have been around for many years and some of them have become quite sophisticated thanks to the internet. Wary first-time renters can protect themselves and their hard earned money by following the tips above and checking everything to ensure your new landlord is above board.
*This is a collaborative post.