DON'T BE A VICTIM!

AVOID RENTAL FRAUD

The information below is provided for your protection, when leasing property from a private party, without the assistance of a real estate agent.

We all need housing!  If you are looking for a rental property, the last thing you want is to become a victim of a rental scammer.  Too often, these rental scam artist prey on the emotional state of prospective tenants that need to move, and who may be desperate to find a place fast, and that they can afford.

 

As a prospective tenant, you need to take steps to avoid becoming a victim of rental fraud.

A house with pool

Too Good to be True...

A trickster magician

WHAT IS A RENTAL FRAUD?

In a nutshell, it is any scheme aimed at stealing your money, which involves someone pretending they have the right or legal authority to rent a property. 

 

In scams, the property may be real or fictitious, it does not matter. These cunning con-artist use technology and internet posts to snag their victims, offering incredible deals.  They can be very persuasive and come across as very friendly, to the unsuspecting.   

 

Although its less common, the scammer can even include an unscrupulous landlord, who does have the legal right to lease a property.

Sometimes, it can even be the tenant who is moving out that pretends to be the owner.  The types of scammers are numerous.  It can be anyone that does not have the legal right to lease the property.   Don't be tricked by these smooth operators!

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PROTECTION AGAINST RENTAL FRAUD?

Not even the government can guarantee anyone 100% protection against fraud. But your best protection against rental fraud, is to work with a licensed real estate agent, who is a REALTOR®️. They have the training, knowledge and experience, which will work to protect you from scams and housing discrimination. You can trust a REALTOR®️ to be there for you!

Realtors, check to make sure the person who is hiring them to lease a property, has the legal right to do so!

To search for MLS listed property click,

MIAMI LAKES SEARCH

Jesus M. Fernandez, Realtor
Jesus M. Fernandez-  786-553-7530

GOING AT IT ALONE?

If you have decided to rent directly from someone advertising a property for lease, even if you find that property on this website or another reputable website, don’t let your guard down!  Scammers use all kinds of trickery, to steal from unsuspecting tenants.

 

If something does not feel right with the listing, the price seems too good to be true and the application process is rushed, be very cautious about handing over your money!  

Going at it alone down the road

BEST PRACTICES WHEN LEASING PROPERTY *

  • When calling on an ad, ask for the property address (if none is provided), and the owner’s full name.

  • Don’t rely on online photos or promises!  Always inspect the property in person!

  • Always confirm that the person you are dealing with is the owner of the property!

  • Always meet the owner in person!  If you are told that they are out of the country or don’t live in the area, be very cautious. Out of town owners usually hire an agent to rent their properties.

  • Look up the property in the tax record, using the address and the owner’s name.  In Miami-Dade visit  http://www.miamidade.gov/propertysearch/#/ . In Broward County, visit  http://www.bcpa.net/RecName.asp

  • When viewing the property in person, ask the owner to show you their identification, on first contact.  If they refuse or give you some excuse, like they are just showing the property for the owner, be very cautious.  If you can’t verify ownership, you may be dealing with an imposter.

  • If the owner asks for a cash deposit or money order to hold the property, be very careful.  Don’t hand over your cash without a reading the lease agreement.  If you are told, that its “month-to-month” and you do not need an agreement, this may be true.  Just be very careful, handing over your money without a written lease agreement.

  • If you are asked to sign a lease agreement, before the owner has had an opportunity to check your credit, criminal history or employment status, be very careful. It may be a scammer.  Serious property owners will ask for these, before agreeing to give you a lease.

  • Once you receive the lease agreement, make sure to read it.  If you do not understand what it says, consult an attorney.  Never sign an agreement you do not understand!

  • Likewise, rather than giving someone your social security number, so they can run a credit report, pull your own report, by visiting, https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action make a copy and present it to the prospective landlord, at the time you apply for the rental.  

  • If you are asked to sign a lease agreement, make sure to read it.  If you do not understand what it says, consult an attorney.  Never sign an agreement you do not understand!

*The information on this page is not offered as legal advise and should not be interpreted as such, by the reader.