Avoiding Rental Property Scams
Hunting for rental housing in any city can be exhausting. Going to view small dingy one-bedroom apartments ‘accidentally’ listed as 2 bedrooms or a small dark apartment described as ‘huge’ and ‘bright’ is frustrating. Even worse is paying a deposit on property that does not exist.
Here are some tips to help you avoid some of the mistakes that can be made when looking for rental property:
- Be aware of offers that seem too good to be true. This is especially true if it involves sending money to a third party. In these circumstances, it’s probably not legitimate.
- Be cautious of giving your personal information. You may get asked for your social insurance number, bank account, or credit card numbers. However, keep in mind that a landlord may need specific information when filing out a rental application form in person to do credit and reference checks.
- Get recommendations from people you know. This way you are more likely to deal with reputable agencies or landlords.
- Don’t give up your money too quickly. No money should change hands until the property has actually been rented.
- Be careful when looking online. There have been reported cases where a renter found the same pictures of an apartment for rent but at a different address. Or sometimes, the property doesn’t exist at all.
- Find out the terms of your lease. It’s always a good idea to read the fine print on your rental contract and find out if there is a penalty for early termination of your lease.
- Do a reasonableness check on rental rates for similar properties in the same area. If the rent seems too low, do more research.
If you think you have been scammed, we encourage you to call your local police department. If you have questions about scams please contact Consumer Protection BC toll free at 1-888-564-9963, via email at
and we will do our best to help you and direct you to the most appropriate organization to contact.
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