Tips to Avoid Rental Scams
In this digital age, renting has become a complicated task in the wake of a spurt in rental scams. In order to avoid tax, many landlords rent out without a rental contract. Moreover, with everything available at the click of a mouse has made the job of conmen a lot easier. Taking help of a real estate agent will help you take the right decision.
But, if you are on your own then MakaaniQ lists some tips to avoid rental scams.
Know how scammers work
The first step to avoid rental scams is to know the modus operandi of scammers. They usually hijack a real estate listing and modify the advertisement. This modified advertisement is then posted on another website. Another thing which scammers do is that they list the places that are not available for rent or don't even exist. People who take the decision in a haste get trapped in such kind of scams.
Be cautious, if:
- If the landlord asks you to pay the security deposit, first month's rent and application fee through wire money.
- If the owner doesn't meet you and says he is out of the country.
- If he asks for the security deposit before you have signed the lease.
Know the landlord
It is important to meet the landlord in person. This will help you to understand his personality. Moreover, check the owner's identification, property papers, and other details to confirm his ownership of the property.
Physical inspection of the house
Select the rental home with due diligence. It is important that you inspect the home by personally visiting the place. See the locality and the condition of the property. Moreover, talk to neighbours to establish the credentials of the landlord.
Say "No" to difficult-to-trace mode of payment
Scammers usually ask you to make payments through a mode which is difficult to trace. Never make any payment without a proper receipt. Proper documentation must be done before you pay any token money, security deposit or advance.
Hire a legal expert
Hire a legal expert who would ensure that the agreement has all the details that will safeguard your interests as a tenant. A good rental agreement must have the following attributes:
- Starting and ending date of the agreement. It should also have the legal name of the landlord and the tenant.
- It should be duly stamped and registered.
- It must have rent related information having penalty and rent escalation clause.
- It must specify that whether the amount of rent includes utility charges.
- It must state the amount of security of deposit.
- List the conditions which can lead to eviction.
- It is important to state the property's condition at the time of renting.
- It should specify the notice period.