You have found “the place”. Beautiful location, perfect amenities, fits your budget, it’s quite a catch. But hang on, is it bordering the “too good to be true” status?
The sad truth is that rental scams are prevalent. This is why rental websites ask lessors (the unit owners) government issued identification, contact details, and other verification methods to minimize fraud.
As a potential tenant, it is important to be vigilant even if you are dealing with trusted sites.
Here are a few anti-fraud tips when looking for a place to rent:
Compare Prices in the Neighborhood
Prices in a busy urban city will most likely be the same, give or take a few thousand pesos. If it’s half or less than the average price of lots, it’s time to be a little suspicious and take the time to research more about the unit for rent and the lessor. Maybe a number of amenities are unavailable? Or extra utility or homeowner dues will be added on top of the initially agreed upon price.
Look for Other Properties They Have for Rent
Legit brokers will most likely have more than one unit for rent. Some of them may even have postings in different websites. Look into any other placements they have for rent and check to see if the pictures match the descriptions or if they look like they’ve been lifted off a Google search.
Check Out Their Reviews
One of the perks of this generation is that anybody who has access to the internet can leave a review whether it's a complaint or a compliment. It can even be anonymous. Find out what people have to say and how their experience went. While it is inevitable to find negative comments, finding a mix of both good and bad reviews is a sign that the reviews are legit. Just make sure they have more good ones, and the bad ones are understandable and do not say “scam” or “fraudulent”.
Ask for the Contract
For long-term leasing (6months and above), get a hold of the contract and read it thoroughly before handing out money. There are three things you can learn from the contract alone:
If they cannot provide a contract, it is highly likely a scammer. If they are new lessors, ask them to create one for you. It will protect the both of you and will make the transaction legal and binding.
When reading through the contract and you see errors or words that make it look like it was copied from somewhere, that is a red flag.
Some scams are carried out through contract technicalities. This gives you more incentive to really go through the whole document and review the fine print.
Of course we all want to get the best deal, but if it’s too cheap(or too expensive), it doesn’t hurt to be a little more cautious before giving away that deposit.
We are constantly weeding out and screening suspicious listings and units with too many negative feedback. If you do find any doubtful offers , or are wary of some lessor, or if you just want to verify a listing, please do not hesitate to contact us so mediate and verify.
Do you have any anti-fraud strategies when choosing a place to rent? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Happy renting! :)
It pays to be cautious and your comments make sense. We've all been caught at one time or other...
Eiselle Joy Pascua
Ask directly the administration office the registered owner of the property and/or you may request copy of SPA from the owner if owner is not available. But again I highly encourage tenants or owners to work with professional brokers so that they are protected with legalities since we are talking about huge amount of money per transaction.
We agree! It really pays to be vigilant and verify with admin office when in doubt. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you find anything suspicious or out of place :)
Essential to work with a licenced broker. Check their credentials and make sure they have the owner's authority to rent the unit. You can also check with the building admin office. Never give money to a broker or intermediary - always pay the landlord directly unless there is a notarized Special Power of Attorney giving them the necessary authority. Even then, confirm with the admin office
I agree Mr. Jim Donald
Yes well noted thank you for the very important infos