Real Estate

Rental scams - what to look for?

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 9th, 2018 9:57 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 23, 2015
1891 posts
582 upvotes
Brampton, ON

Rental scams - what to look for?

Hey all,

I am currently looking for an apartment to rent so that I can be closer to work. I have browsed Kijiji as well as posted an ad there. I had someone email me with pictures and a price that was obviously too good to be true. I asked him for the address and that is when the conversation ended (he never replied).

Anyways, as this is my first time searching for an apartment for myself, what are these scams trying to do? Or in other words, what is the scam? If I played along with the dude I assume he would ask me for a deposit (maybe via etransfer or something) and then basically disappear. Is this correct? Also, any other scams I should watch out for?

Thanks
10 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 25, 2005
1378 posts
386 upvotes
I'm not sure which scams are common right now, but here's what I would do (or not do), having rented for a number of years:
  • You mentioned you had to ask for the address. If there's no address listed I wouldn't even waste my time.
  • I would not provide any personal information (aside from name and phone) or make any payment until I met with the owner / agent at the property and wanted to proceed with the rental. If I was asked to make any payment prior to this, I would stop communication and look elsewhere.
  • I would not provide my SIN under any circumstances. It's not required.
  • I would provide first and last months' rent by cheque or e-Transfer, and only once a formal rental agreement was signed. If the owner insists on cash, I would look elsewhere. If the owner will not enter into a written agreement, I would look elsewhere.
  • If something doesn't feel right, leave.
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2011
4907 posts
2105 upvotes
Thornhill
These scams are usually perpetrated by someone posing as either the landlord, the landlord's representative or a tenant looking to sublet.

They steal photos and descriptions from real listings to use as their post.

They offer too good to be true rents and often, either on their advert or via correspondence, claim they're out of town and can't meet.

They ask for some sort of deposit to hold the unit, and give instructions to wire it somewhere.

NEVER! provide anyone with an e-transfer or cheque or draft or money order unless:

1) You meet them face to face and they let you into the rental unit

2) You ask them if they own the unit and verify their name as being on title - if you knwo any Realtors ask them to do a favour and check land registry or go to land registry and check yourself

3) They provide a proper lease agreement that both of you will first sign before you hand over any cheques.

4) They provide an email address then you send them an email, ask them a question that requires a response and when they do check the source of the email for it's origination.

5) If in Ontario - With MLS sales data being available now everywhere sign up with one of those sites and search the address for listing history. Then follow up with the listing Realtor if you find one.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 29, 2008
5856 posts
1430 upvotes
licensed covered everything. At this stage, there are no "deals". So if it's to good to be true, it is.
Newbie
Jul 26, 2015
66 posts
37 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
flyingnurse wrote:
Oct 6th, 2018 5:48 pm
Hey all,

I am currently looking for an apartment to rent so that I can be closer to work. I have browsed Kijiji as well as posted an ad there. I had someone email me with pictures and a price that was obviously too good to be true. I asked him for the address and that is when the conversation ended (he never replied).

Anyways, as this is my first time searching for an apartment for myself, what are these scams trying to do? Or in other words, what is the scam? If I played along with the dude I assume he would ask me for a deposit (maybe via etransfer or something) and then basically disappear. Is this correct? Also, any other scams I should watch out for?

Thanks

1. If it’s too good to be true then it certainly is. Don’t bother wasting your time on that ads.

2. A lot of landlords are also worried to become a target of a scammer that would copy their listing or stop by an empty house to clear it out. So if a landlord does not provide the exact property address - it’s not that uncommon. It’s actually a number one rule for the property managing companies - never provide an exact property address, at least in the ads. You will likely be provided with an appointment time and the closest intersection. Some may provide you the address on a second or third request. They are just as worried as you are.

3. Don’t just email or text. Call and talk to the other person on the phone. Voice call is the best.

The most common scam is when a legitimate listing information is being copied by a scammer. If the original post included an exact property address - then it’s like a gift for a scammer. Some may even claim that they are out of the country and ask a teneant to replace the locks themselves and wire the money to the so called landlord abroad.

You should book an appointment. See the landlord at the house. If the landlord is vague about the exact address - don’t worry. Ask for the nearest intersection.
Don’t avoid the managing companies. They may be your best option. They do not charge you anything and you are dealing with a professional. That’s the best way to go.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 23, 2015
1891 posts
582 upvotes
Brampton, ON
Hey thanks for all the helpful advice guys much appreciated.

It definitely was a too good to be true ad especially for the price he was listing it for.

It just seems very unethical to mess with people in this fashion. But the dollar is king as they say
Newbie
Nov 10, 2014
44 posts
8 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
Nukey wrote:
Oct 6th, 2018 6:01 pm
I'm not sure which scams are common right now, but here's what I would do (or not do), having rented for a number of years:
  • You mentioned you had to ask for the address. If there's no address listed I wouldn't even waste my time.
  • I would not provide any personal information (aside from name and phone) or make any payment until I met with the owner / agent at the property and wanted to proceed with the rental. If I was asked to make any payment prior to this, I would stop communication and look elsewhere.
  • I would not provide my SIN under any circumstances. It's not required.
  • I would provide first and last months' rent by cheque or e-Transfer, and only once a formal rental agreement was signed. If the owner insists on cash, I would look elsewhere. If the owner will not enter into a written agreement, I would look elsewhere.
  • If something doesn't feel right, leave.
Speaking from my perspective as a landlord:

Address- I only provide the street name or major intersection and never a full address on my listings. I text or email the address to applicants only when booking showings to protect myself from scammers or crazies.
SIN- this one is tricky. While I ask for SIN indirectly through Naborly app (for the sole purpose of checking credit), I fully understand applicants' decision not to provide their SIN as it can leave them vulnerable to identity thefts. While landlords cannot obligate applicants to provide SIN, they are also free to reject those applicants. My advice is ensure a way for the landlord to run a credit check if you are not going to provide a SIN.

Good suggestions so far. Check out the property and the landlord in person before you provide any of your personal information.
Last edited by Tadalafil on Oct 8th, 2018 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 23, 2015
1891 posts
582 upvotes
Brampton, ON
Tadalafil wrote:
Oct 7th, 2018 7:26 pm
Speaking from my perspective as a landlord:

Address- I only provide the street name or major intersection and never a full address on my listings. I text or email the address to applicants only when booking showings to protect myself from scammers or crazies.
SIN- this one is tricky. While I ask for SIN indirectly through Naborly app (for the sole purpose of checking), I fully understand applicants' decision not to provide their SIN as it can leave them vulnerable to identity thefts. While landlords cannot obligate applicants to provide SIN, they are also free to reject those applicants. My advice is ensure a way for the landlord to run a credit check if you are not going to provide a SIN.

Good suggestions so far. Check out the property and the landlord in person before you provide any of your personal information.
Hey thanks for providing a information from a landlord perspective.

Is there harm is providing personal information to websites that landlords use to manage their property on kijiji? Yesterday I filled out an application on one of those websites providing them my name, address, phone, and email.

Also, what do you think of first time renters? Does a landlord give preference to people that have a long history of renting over us first timers?
Newbie
Nov 10, 2014
44 posts
8 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
I would provide name, number, and email when contacting a landlord for a viewing, and provide other info. like employment history/paystubs, address history, and SIN (optional) only after you check out the place and the landlord in person.

I do prefer tenants with history renting that also provide their previous landlord's contact for reference. An alarm goes off in my head if an applicant is unable or unwilling to do so.

That said, I look mainly at income, source of income, and credit score when looking for tenants. I wouldn't reject anyone for being a first time renter. I actually think your application will be well received by most landlords as the nursing profession is regarded as a well paying and stable profession.

One last note, it's a landlord's market right now in many cities across Canada with low vacancy rates. My inbox was flooded when I listed my ads on Kijiji this year. I advise to respond to ads in complete sentences and without glaring grammatical errors. I have been floored by how many applicants are unable to do so, and usually ignore their messages.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Feb 23, 2015
1891 posts
582 upvotes
Brampton, ON
Tadalafil wrote:
Oct 8th, 2018 1:07 pm
I would provide name, number, and email when contacting a landlord for a viewing, and provide other info. like employment history/paystubs, address history, and SIN (optional) only after you check out the place and the landlord in person.

I do prefer tenants with history renting that also provide their previous landlord's contact for reference. An alarm goes off in my head if an applicant is unable or unwilling to do so.

That said, I look mainly at income, source of income, and credit score when looking for tenants. I wouldn't reject anyone for being a first time renter. I actually think your application will be well received by most landlords as the nursing profession is regarded as a well paying and stable profession.

One last note, it's a landlord's market right now in many cities across Canada with low vacancy rates. My inbox was flooded when I listed my ads on Kijiji this year. I advise to respond to ads in complete sentences and without glaring grammatical errors. I have been floored by how many applicants are unable to do so, and usually ignore their messages.
Great advice and I will take it into consideration . My income is fine however I can definitely see it being a landlords market at this time. The prices are quite high even for a 1 bedroom in the areas I am looking at.
Sr. Member
Mar 20, 2017
890 posts
651 upvotes
Dissappearing landlords is the only scam I've heard of. To address that issue, always check driver license/title info for the property or other proof that he does own that particular property or has a right to manage it.

These is a common worrying about providing sensitive personal data (which is actually not just SIN). The rule here is landlord can ask for SIN, but cannot require it.
Overall, owners with $1M+ rental businesses almost never have any motivation to abuse this personal info for scam purposes.
I don't really care if SIN is provided, but if I see a person that does provide SIN, its a huge white flag, since person is trying to be completely transparent.

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