How to Recognize and Avoid Rental Scams

How to Recognize and Avoid Rental Scams

Title "How to Recognize and Avoid Rental Scams" in gold letters over a dark blue backround, above a golden cartoon silhouette of houses

Renting out an apartment unit can be an exciting experience and a good source of income. The development and accessibility of internet communication and listing platforms have made it easier for landlords to advertise their properties.

However, it has also enabled scammers to target unknowing property owners and landlords, which can result in monetary loss and distress. 

Online scammers may try to profit from your rental businesses by advertising your property and requesting money or personal information from applicants.Your reputation and reliability as a landlord and rental property owner may suffer if your rental property is entangled in fraudulent activity.

Fortunately, B&R Property Management put together this article explaining what rental scams are, how to spot them, and how to avoid them.

How Rental Scams Work

There are usually three steps to any rental scam. They are as follows: 

1. Your Property’s Photos and Advertisements Are Being Used by a Scammer

Scammers will often look through real estate marketing websites and pick a rental to imitate. They will take important elements of the rental ad, such as pictures and descriptions, and post them on another real estate listing website using their own name. They’ll pose as the property owner and respond to inquiries from prospective tenants.

This not only has the potential to damage your property’s reputation, but it could also cost unsuspecting renters their money. If you discover that a scammer has taken advantage of your property listing and images, it might be a good idea to watermark your images to make them less appealing to scammers. 

A living rooom with a gray couch and a round table

2. The Scammer Will Request Upfront Payments from Potential Renters

Once they have identified a target, the scammer will demand payment right away. They may ask for a reservation fee or even a security deposit from the tenant, making them believe such payment will secure the rental property for them. 

Scammers will typically request the payment before potential tenants have even viewed the space in person. They may request wire transfers or suggest methods of transferring money that can only be used outside of the listing platform. 

To avoid this, it’s best to always include a note about your payment process on the property listing, as this will let potential tenants know what to expect. 

3. The Tenant Finds Out They Have Been Scammed

After receiving money from the prospective tenant, the scammer will likely cut off all contact. Once the tenant realizes they can’t get in touch with the presumed landlord, they may realize it was a fraud. As a response, they may warn other potential renters to avoid renting the property or from the landlord. 

Your rental business may thus experience some unwanted repercussions even though you had nothing to do with the scam.

How Landlords Can Protect Their Rental Property

Learn the Telltale Signs of an Online Rental Scam

Person holding a laptop on their lap

There are several ways of recognizing a rental scam. Landlords should familiarize themselves with these telltale signs to recognize scams and encourage their tenants and applicants to do so as well. Some of the signs include: 

  • The landlord is “unavailable” to show the property.
  • The landlord can’t provide a door code or key to the unit.
  • The property needs to be reserved for a large sum of money.
  • The landlord requests unreasonable personal or financial information.
  • Rent is considerably cheaper compared to nearby comparable properties. 

Warn Tenants about Potential Rental Scams

If you spot a rental scam involving your property, you can take appropriate steps to warn tenants about the scam. While working to get the fake listing taken down, you can edit your rental ad to include a warning. The landlord can also teach their tenants how to avoid being scammed and share the following tips: 

  • Check reviews from past tenants if available.
  • Verify the prospective landlord’s identification.
  • Speak with the unit’s past or present residents.
  • View the property in person before agreeing to pay.
  • Avoid sending payments online before confirming the landlord’s address.

Partner with a Property Management Company 

Experienced landlords would acknowledge that the best approach to ensure the success of a rental property business is to partner with a professional property management firm. Property management organizations have the resources and connections necessary to manage the daily operations of renting out your multi-family residences.

Two people in button-ups shaking hands in front of a residential property

Seasoned property managers know how to conduct effective marketing, tenant screening, property maintenance and upkeep, and rent collection. They can advertise your listings on their secure website and help increase the appeal of your rental property. 

When you partner with B&R Property Management, you can rest assured our skilled professionals will work together to protect your multi-family property investment. We will make sure your rental listing isn’t being misrepresented elsewhere and check our database to ensure scammers aren’t posting your property ads on questionable real estate listing websites. 

If we detect that your property is being promoted on an unauthorized website, we will have the listing taken down quickly to prevent your property from being associated with a scam. Partnering with us means maintaining a good image for you and your property.

Bottom Line

It goes without saying that protecting your investment and upholding your reputation are crucial aspects of running a successful rental business. You can reduce the likelihood that rental scams will negatively impact your business by learning the telltale signs of rental scams, warning impacted parties, and partnering with a professional property manager. 

As one of the largest local property management companies in the Las Vegas Valley, B&R Property Management is here to ensure your properties and investments are taken care of, and take appropriate actions to protect your tenants’ safety and pleasure at every stage of the tenant lifecycle.

Contact B&R Property Management today to learn more about our secure marketing strategies!

Click-to-Call: 702-454-2561