How to Avoid Falling Victim to a Rental Scam

120 Milross Avenue, Vancouver, BC (exterior)

When it comes to looking for rental accommodation online, it pays to remember the adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. Scammers have long been using online classifieds like Craigslist and Kijiji to dupe would-be renters, and at Rent It Furnished, we’re always disturbed to hear how clients have fallen victim to scams.

Rent It Furnished leasing agent Jenna Hislop says she’s had about five emails in six months involving scams. Jenna recently received a call from a woman inquiring about a rental property we have listed at the exclusive L’Hermitage on Richards Street in Vancouver. “She called to say she had been conversing with someone she found through a Craigslist ad who claimed to be the owner of this suite, and before sending funds for the rental she felt she should check with us to ensure she was dealing with the legitimate owner.” Jenna says.

The “fake owner” had copied photos and information from our legitimate listing and had posted it on Craigslist asking $500/night for short term rentals. The would-be renter was saved from wiring money into a scammer’s account because she took the time to research and verify who the legitimate property owner was.

Many potential renters travel to Vancouver for business or on vacation and are unable to view properties before renting them. Often, these are the people who are taken advantage of by scam artists. If you’re relocating and unable to personally meet with property owners, it’s always best to go directly through a reputable real estate brokerage like Rent It Furnished.

Rent It Furnished CEO, Erika Weimer, says that Rent it furnished was created in part to help tenants and owners avoid these scams. The company represents over 1000 rental units in the Vancouver area, and a licensed agent has personally viewed and verified ownership of the suites listed with us.

There are a number of ways you can avoid falling for a rental scam:

  • Search the specific address on Craigslist, Kijiji and even Google. If ads for the same property come up on different sites or with different information, it’s definitely a red flag.
  • Trust your intuition. If something about the property owner feels off, you may very well be dealing with a scam artist.
  • Do not hand over money to an individual without seeing the property first and verifying ownership.
  • Look into the average price of similar rental suites. If the other suites are priced much higher, chances are the property you found is not a legitimate rental.
  • And finally, keep in mind the best way to avoid scammers; Use a licensed brokerage like Rent It Furnished, who will do the research for you.

If you’re looking for a unit in Vancouver and want to avoid the possibility of being scammed, take a look at our database of over 1000 furnished and unfurnished rental suites  or contact us directly for our complimentary property finding services.