Beware of Rental Scams!
It has been an interesting week here at RIF headquarters as several of our agents have been contacted by our clients to verify some questionable emails from would-be rental scammers! This is pretty scary and serious stuff!
This week, would-be rental scammers stole information and photos from our website in order to create fake advertisements on Craigslist and Kijiji with the intent to entice tenants and solicit deposits for these suites. To go even further, fake email accounts were created showing the names of RIF agents to further to convince tenants they were dealing with a reputable agent from our company. The tenants who are inquiring about these properties were then being asked to provide very sensitive information and unwarranted deposits in order to secure the rental. This is NOT how we work!
Please know that RIF will never use an email address other than our company domain (rentitfurnished.com) to communicate with clients and we are hoping to spread the news that this is happening in order to prevent anyone from falling claim to these deceitful tactics.
We are happy that these tenants reached out to us to verify these deposit requests and the unusual gmail addresses and a quick response resolved the confusion and their accommodation needs.
Of course, it is always wise to work with a reputable real estate company to secure a rental – this will both make the process easier for yourself and prevent the risk of scams such as those above. With most agencies in Canada, there is no cost to the tenants when working with an agency and like RIF, most agencies have seasoned agents on staff who are experts in the rental market.
However, if you decide to search for a rental on your own we want to help with some tips on how to avoid being scammed:
Know who you are renting from
Prior to signing a lease, you must make sure you are renting from the legal owner of the unit. Not a tenant, not a relative- it must be the individual(s) who is on title for the property. This is paramount! If you sign a lease with the owners’ cousin on that fabulous property in the Annex, you have no legal rights to that unit as there is no binding contract in place (unless there is an existing agency agreement or power of attorney, which you must also verify). If something doesn’t feel right, make sure you do your due diligence to make sure the situation is legitimate. At Rent it Furnished it’s mandatory that all owners provide proof of ownership prior to listing their property to avoid any of these potential issues. Simply put, if an owner refuses to provide this information, we will not list their property and you should not be signing a lease agreement, or worse, paying any deposits or rent payments.
Be weary of providing too much information
The standard documents you will be asked for when looking for a rental are an employment letter, credit report and references. Never give out your SIN number or banking information unless a very clear reason is established for this. When working with Rent It Furnished, you fill out a tenant application form to provide the above documentation as needed. Revealing more personal data is a risk to you!
Never- I repeat, NEVER provide funds before signing a lease
An owner asking for payment upfront before you have seen the place is a clear sign of a potential scammer. Many renters are scammed out of deposits, first and last months rent, sometimes for the same unit or a unit that doesn’t in fact exist, and then find themselves without a home on move in day. It is often international renters that are taken advantage of as they are not familiar with the rental market and have no choice but to rent “sight unseen” often in a renter’s market where suites move quickly and they are pressured to make a hasty and immediate decision. Make sure what can and cannot be asked of you as a tenant as each province and country may have different rental rules. In working with an agency, these items are of course covered for you.
Work with a creditable agency
If you do decide to work with an agency, make sure you are working with a credible one. Do your research! Google the company and read the reviews. You want to make sure you are in good hands. All of our agents are happy to help and dealing with us means you are working with a professional. It is also paramount you verify email addresses and who is responding to you. At RIF, we only use official RIF designated emails. If you are every suspicious of who you are speaking with, make sure you contact the agency to verify the information. Our goal is to make sure that this is an assuring and successful experience for both the tenant and the owner.
Renting a property is a big step in a person’s life. Not only is it a financial undertaking, this rental will become your home for the next year or so and you want to make sure it will be your safe haven. It is vital that there is trust between a tenant and a landlord. The process of finding a rental can be a really difficult process, but we are here to make it easier and successful. If you are searching for a new rental on your own on open sites such as Craigslist or Kijiji, be vigilant, keep your eyes open and if something does not seem right- it most likely isn’t.
With Rent It Furnished you’ll have an expert working with you every step of the way! Our team of professional agents are happy to help you find a furnished or unfurnished rental in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and New York at no cost to you. Contact us directly to speak to an agent or click here for more information on our rental services.