Featured News 2012 How to Detect Rental Scams

How to Detect Rental Scams

If you are going on vacation, you have probably logged on to the Internet in order to find a place to rent from. Some people prefer renting a home to booking a stay at a hotel or resort, because you often get more space for a cheaper price. When visiting a lake, beach, or mountain range, you may want to stay in a home that gives you the feel of the community rather than opting for an inn or a luxury hotel. Rental homes can be a blast, but not if you get scammed. A lot of homeowners will inflate the quality of their home online and charged exorbitant amounts. Once you get to the actual location, you might end up being severely disappointed by what you find. According to the Vacation Rentals Community, dozens of scammers advertise their homes online every day for profit.

Some renters will send requests for damage payments, even if you didn’t damage the home. For example, a woman in Florida recently rented her home out to a family on vacation, and then sent a letter requesting payments for a toilet that was damaged during their stay. The family insists that they had no problems with the toilet, but the homeowner keeps insisting that she get the compensation she desires. This particular homeowner has been since labeled a serial scammer, and always charges for damages after her renters leave the property.

Other times, scammers will violate their contracts by failing to return a security deposit that the renter puts on the property. This deposit is supposed to be reimbursed unless the renter inflicts damage on the home. Yet a lot of scammers will keep the money and refuse to return any phone calls, e-mail, or contact from the renter who wants his or her money back. Also, some scammers will post advertisements for homes that they don’t actually own. They obtain a security deposit on the home, and then renters come to find out that the house isn’t actually for rent at all. This can ruin a person’s vacation, all while the scammer continues to collect money from the innocent victims.

This issue can also go the other way. Sometimes as a homeowner, you can be scammed by renters too. If you rent your home out to a particularly rowdy group, they may break your properties and then insist that the damage was already there. People may become intoxicated and slam through walls, smash furniture, or spill beverages that stain the carpet. If these people insist that they didn’t inflict any damage, then you may want to take them to court. It’s not fair that you should have to pay for someone else’s poor behavior.

Real estate rental scams are rampant, and admittedly hard to detect. You can be sure to watch out for these scams by looking on message boards to make sure that your homeowner who wants to rent property has not been blacklisted. Also, it’s wise to go through reputable and recommended rental agencies, rather than just trying out someone new. If you think there is something fishy about the deal, don’t agree. While you may not be able to meet your homeowner first hand, especially if he or she is in a different state, you should still work hard to get in contact with him or her over the phone. If you are scammed by a real estate renter, then you need a real estate attorney on your side to fight your case. Locate an attorney near you using this directory and get started seeking justice in your case.

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