A recent story out of Hercules, California shed new light on the onslaught of rental scams permeating the housing market. According to Bay City News, a woman responded to a rental ad for a four-bedroom home posted on Craigslist, and then proceed to meet with a man claiming to be managing the property for his father.
What happened next is, sadly, not unheard of, although it does have a happy ending. The woman filled out a credit application and told the man she would supply the $1,500 security deposit he requested in a few days. Thankfully, she discussed the property with a realtor friend, and found out that the home was for sale, not rent; in fact, the real owner of the property sold the home just a few days earlier. The man in question was arrested and the woman was saved from losing $1,500 of her hard earned money. But not everyone is as lucky.
As one of the leading property management companies in SF, we hear stories like this every day. So what can you do to protect yourself from similar scans?
To start, always work with reputable property management firms in SF. This ensures that the property in question is actually available for rent and that you’re working directly with the property managers in charge. And when you’re searching for properties on your own, always follow these guidelines:
Never wire money to a landlord. One of the most common scams on internet classifieds is a landlord claiming he or she is out of state or country yet promising to mail keys to the property once you send a deposit. Verify the availability of any property you find with a quality property management companies in SF.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. We’ve been handling property management in SF for years, and have a strong grasp on the current housing market and trends. We assure you, you will not find a four-bedroom, three-bath home with a gorgeous backyard for $500 per month. If an ad claims this or similar absurd rates, it’s a scam.
Don’t deal with out-of-state landlords. It’s not possible for a property owner to adequately take care of a home and handle renting it out when they aren’t in the area. If the owner is not using property management in SF, they’re either not the owner of the property or won’t be able to provide the level of care and service you need from a landlord.
Remember: the best way to avoid rental scams is to work with a reputable property management firm in SF. And nobody knows the area better than Property Force.