Imagine being in charge of a property that apparently has another owner different from the one you know. Well, at least that’s what the family at the door claims. Rental scams are more common than you think, and whether you are the scammer or not, dealing with one becomes a significant hassle. In this article, we talk about rental fraud and give you tips to avoid rental scams.
What Counts as Rental Fraud?
Before we dive into how to avoid rental scams, let us first define what counts as a fraud in the first place.
- The most common form of a rental scam is when another person steals pictures and information about the property and reposts them on another site.
- They pretend to be in charge of the listing and have potential tenants reaching out to them to send security deposits to secure the listing.
Needless to say, once they have the money, they flee, and tenants lose their money and the property. Things sometimes escalate to the point that scammers have potential tenants sign fake leases and obtain a substantial amount of money from them as deposit and rent.
Tenants only catch up on the fraud on moving day, and that is when trouble walks to the property manager’s door. Here are a few tips to avoid rental scams, so you don’t have to deal with such misunderstandings.
1. Custom Signage with Your Brand
This is the easiest way to avoid rental scams. If the property owner assigns you as the exclusive property manager responsible for the listing, scammers won’t get access to the property. Make sure you highlight the fact that the property owner has signed custom signage with your brand on all pictures. That way, scammers won’t be able to steal the pictures or the information.
2. Don’t Let Your Property Go Stale.
Often property owners request that the property manager fetches them as high a price as possible. Many managers even ask for a higher price to make room for negotiation ensuring potential tenants don’t bring down the rent too low. Often this becomes the reason the listing goes stale.
However, scammers look for properties that ask too high a price and place an advertisement for the very same ones at a lower price. They also look for properties that have been on the market for too long. They then claim that the owner has lowered the price and changed the company.
3. Watermark Your Pictures and Sign Boards
Place a sign in the yard or on the property and make sure it has your watermark on it. Make sure your pictures all have watermarks as well as it defines that the images belong to your company. By doing so, property managers can effortlessly avoid scammers from using the images.
4. Search Fraudulent Sites
Knowing where your property is listed is an excellent tip. You can even mention the sites where the property is listed in the listing’s copy, so potential tenants know which ones are authentic. You should also regularly check sites like Craigslist, where scammers often post properties.
With these tips to avoid rental scams, property managers can save themselves a lot of hassle later on. All you need to do is be a little more proactive and detailed in the listing you put out, and you won’t have to deal with fraud.