Owning and renting out a property means having to prevent vacancies, screen potential tenants, and conduct consistent property marketing. With the widespread use of social media and new advertising solutions, having an online presence is a must for every landlord, as it allows them to easily market a unit to thousands of potential renters.
However, having an online presence also requires vigilance, as rental scammers may try to take advantage of your property listing and your potential renters. As a landlord, it’s crucial to learn how to spot potential scams to protect yourself and your investment.
In this article, the Sun-Pro Realty & Management team goes over the most common rental scams landlords may face and advises landlords on the best way to deal with them.
Common Steps of a Rental Scam
1. Use of Your Photos
Scammers may often create fraudulent property listings using somebody else’s rental photos, videos, and descriptions. They will put down their own contact information and pose as the landlord, getting interested parties to get in touch with them.
They may lead on potential renters, answering questions vaguely, either because they don’t know the details of your property or as a way to protect their identity. At this stage, it may be hard for interested tenants to recognize the person they’re speaking to isn’t a landlord.
To protect your reputation and your property listings, make sure to browse online listing sites regularly and report any fake listings you come across.
2. Request for Payment
If a potential renter falls for the fake property listing and shows a lot of interest in the property, the scammer will then create a fake scenario or issue that will supposedly necessitate the renter to pay a significant sum of money ahead of time, before even seeing the property.
Scammers may say that lots of renters are interested in the space, and that any one applicant has to pay the security deposit in order to secure the space.
To minimize the likelihood of this happening with your property listing, make sure to include disclaimers specifying that applicants don’t need to pay ahead of time or send their financial information before visiting the property and coming to formal agreement.
Once the scammer has accomplished their goal and received the payment, they will cut all contact with the interested applicant. Once this happens, and the renter fails to get in touch with the person they thought was the landlord, they may realize it was a scam all along.
In some cases, if the renter wants to find a solution, they may visit the rental property advertised in the fraudulent listing and ask the landlord to fix the situation, either by being shown the property or getting their deposit back, as they may not realize the person who scammed them and the actual landlord are different people.
While it is not your responsibility to pay the tenant back or fulfill any promises the scammer made, as the landlord, it would be in your best interest to prove to the tenant that the scam was not your doing. This may involve showing them the original advert online, your phone number, or any relevant evidence.
In this day and age, how landlords present themselves and how their current and potential customers perceive them is very important. That’s why it’s crucial to protect the reputation of your rental business by ensuring that your property isn’t used in any fraudulent schemes, and reacting accordingly if you ever find yourself unwillingly involved in a rental scam.
How Landlords Can Protect Themselves from Rental Scams
As mentioned above, landlords can verify property listing sites regularly to ensure their properties aren’t being advertised by someone else, as well as include appropriate disclaimers in their property listings to protect themselves and their properties.
Another way that landlords can protect themselves from rental scams is to employ the services of a reputable property management company.
As mentioned above, today’s customers are keen on branding and image. That’s why landlords should choose a local partner whose brand is synonymous with expertise, integrity, and accountability. Their experience in the industry should give them the upper hand when dealing with fraudulent listings and schemes.
Rental scammers rely on their ability to download someone else’s property photos from the internet and repost them on their platforms. To reduce the possibility of that happening, property management companies may be able to watermark or even trademark your photos. This will scare away scammers as they will be unable to use the photos to their advantage.
Another advantage of outsourcing partnering with a property management company is that they can offer a number of other comprehensive management solutions. From lease preparation to rent collection to property management, you will no longer have to worry about the day-to-day management of your investment property.
By implementing the aforementioned tips, you can secure your property’s credibility and protect yourself. If you’re looking for a property management company to help you with any aspect of property management, consider Sun-Pro Realty & Management!
Sun-Pro Realty & Management is the premier management company in the region. We are known for our reliability, dependability, and professionalism. We handle the needs of hundreds of clients within the region who can attest to our expertise in property matters.
Should you need to outsource the management of your rental units, there is no better partner to have by your side than Sun-Pro Realty & Management!