Log in       Support       Post for free     |       Help me find a place     

How to Avoid Rental Scams
   by Ice Artificio  •  May 10, 2023  •  General

You have found the perfect place. Beautiful location, excellent amenities, fits your budget - it’s quite the 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 though, it is also important to be vigilant even if you are dealing with trusted sites.

Here are a few of our anti-fraud tips when looking for a place to rent:

1. Compare prices in the neighborhood

Prices in a busy urban city will most likely be similar, 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.

Another red flag would be a number of amenities being unavailable. Or extra utility or homeowner dues being added on top of the initially agreed upon price.

2. Work with a licensed leasing professional

Did you know that real estate agents and brokers in the Philippines need to have a license before renting out a property? This license is never issued to anyone who is guilty of any crime or misconduct, which ensures the quality of service you will receive.

The best part about checking their Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) license is that you can do it with a few clicks. First, go to their website.

Then, hover over Services > Other eServices, and proceed to “Verification of license”. Afterward, click VERIFICATION LICENSE BY NAME.

Select REAL ESTATE BROKER on profession before typing their first and last name on the other tabs. If the broker or agent is licensed, a pop-up with their name will appear. You can also check if their PRC ID is still valid.

If you want to take it a step further, you can check if the agent or broker is registered in the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

This way, you will be able to ensure their credentials are legitimate and that that they have the unit owner’s authority to rent out the property you’re eyeing.

3. 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.

4. Browse 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. Plus, it can 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 genuine.

Just make sure they have more good ones, and the bad ones are understandable and do not say "scam" or "fraudulent".

5. Double check with the admin office

You can directly ask the admin office of the condo for the registered owner of the property. You may also request a copy of a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) from them.

This is a legal document that authorizes a person (the “agent”) to sell a property on another person's behalf (the "principal").

6. Ask for the contract

For long-term leasing (6 months and above), get a hold of the contract and read it thoroughly before shelling out money. There are three things you can learn from the contract alone:

  1. If they cannot provide a contract, they are 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.
  2. If you see errors or words that make it look like it was copied from somewhere else, that is a red flag.
  3. 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.

Final thoughts

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.

Rentpad does its best to constantly weed out and screen suspicious listings and units. If you do find any doubtful offers, are wary of a lessor, or just want to verify a listing, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do you have any anti-fraud strategies when choosing a place to rent? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Stay vigilant and happy renting! :)

* This blog post was improved by Nina Tambal on March 2023.

Comments  💬
Steve Russell
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.

Ice Artificio
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 :)

Jim Donald
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

Leonora Diomangay
I agree Mr. Jim Donald

Robi Zulueta

Cristina Corsiga
Thanks again

Jasmin Ariola
Yes well noted thank you for the very important infos

Cabel Reginald

Thanks Rentpad! By the way, Shang Properties just launched a new residential condominium in front of a golf course which you may buy and lease out in the future. Check out theshanglifestyle .com for additional information =)

Helen Hyerim Choi
Yes thank you

Alex Bulanadi

Raymond Macaya

Jun Posas
Thank you!

Epifanio Melgar
Thank you

Bel Chan
I am a tenant, had a long term contract in Sea Residences since 2018. The contract was ended on May 20, 2020. I understand I have to wait for a month to get my deposit refund. I contact the broker on June 23 for follow up and she replied me a msg on July 03. Then I never heard from her even though I sms, called, fb messenger and email. Where can i seek for assistant to get my security deposit refund and also to file a case?

Chux Hizon
Hi @Bel Chan- this is a response from one of our experts: "If her broker is a licensed or affiliated to a license broker, she may report it to HLURB as the broker is now violating the RA 9646 'The RESA' Law. But if she don’t want to escalate such issue, she may visit the property management office of sea residences to seek some help or advice. Or if the broker is affiliated to any realty, he/she may report it to the realty where the said broker is connected. He/she has also the option to reached the owner directly."

Myra Canlas
I was a tenant of a studio unit at green residences, taft since Sept 2018 I rented it for my daughter who is studying at DLSU Bec we hurriedly got the unit I was not able to read carefully the contract I signed since classes will be starting just a few days more I thought that the person we were talking to is the owner and bec of our urgent need for a place to stay near my daughter’s school, I followed the instructions of the person in-charge which is to issue 11 PDCs, all of which is paid to cash We renewed the contract last Sept 2019 but the problem started this March when classes were suspended indefinitely. My daughter went home to our province and since March 10 nobody stayed on the unit It was in the first week of June when we tried to get in touch with the person we were talking to - since the first contract we signed. I am asking for a discount on the rent since those were hard times for us all when almost the whole country is under ECQ. It was very hard communicating with her, she was not answering my calls so we can talk about my concern So I sent her messages thru viber in which she will reply via an audio recording. She keeps on telling me about the poor signal on her location so she cannot answer my calls She told me at first that she will try to tell the owner about my request for discounts on rent. I also told her that my husband is sick and I would appreciate it if we were given discount on rent so we can use it for his chemo and other medicines After so many days, there was no reply There was one instance when she said that she willl give us 1 month discount but after a couple of days she told us via audio recording that she cannot give the 1 month discount anymore but rather discount when we will renew the contract These were the inatances when I cannot understand where we are heading to. I am paying for the rent since March and it is already the 2nd week of June, I feel I am throwing away a lot of money bec nobody knows when classes will resume. Even if I wanted to continue with the rent, I cannot even get any discount from this inconsiderate person. Last June 22 we sent the person-in-charge a message that we will be moving out She replied via audio recording that we should vacate the unit immediately so that the new occupants can already move in to our rented place. I know she does not even need to say those things to me since we had been good tenants for a year and 9 months I do not deserve to hear those words but I just kept quiet and did not tell her that I didn’t like what she said I just told her that I will be looking for a vehicle and a driver to help us in moving out I also asked her what will we do with the remaining 3 PDCs She told me that they were just recording the tearing of the PDCs via video and will send the video to us I told her that I want the checks to be returned via LBC charged to us which she did not want So I agreed to the video so that we can just push through with this moving out We were able to schedule it last June 25 and we were at green residences at about 7:30 in the morning My daughters and I went to the unit to pack things and wait for the admin office to open at 9am I need to settle the water bills before I will be given a permit to move out When I was at the admin office I was informed that the owner of the unit owes the admin office almost P35k in outstanding homeowner’s dues And that amount needs to be settled before we can move out We sent message thru viber to the person-in-charge She tried convincing the engineer to sign our moving out form with a promise that the outstanding dues will be settled accordingly But the engineer refused to sign saying that those were the rules so it needs to be followed She told us to wait and will try to find a way to pay for the dues What I cannot understand is that this person-in-charge has been telling us to move out since the first week of June, telling us that there is a new occupant of the unit, so we can move out soon and then we found out these dues that were long overdue which they failed to settle eventhough they have been encashing my checks monthly for the rent ? My patience was really tested in dealing with persons like her. i just cannot believe I signed a contract with them And that’s not all This person-in-charge was able to instruct his brother to pay for the dues She found a way to help us move out bec she knows we are from the province I met his brother at the admin office and he helped me with the moving out form I went with him to a certain unit so that my moving out form be signed I then realized that the person-in-charge who replies via audio recording has been at the building the whole time but did not even bothered to help us personally with regards to all the problems we encountered She signed the moving out form inside a unit without even showing herself to me one last time I went down to the admin so that the enginner can sign the moving out papers so we can bring down the bed frame, mattress, a personal ref and an electric fan, and then go home soon At the admin office, I then learned that the person-in-charge was not authorized to sign the moving out form So suddenly, there’s a new problem which is not my doing I just tried to convince the staff to have it signed and explained that it was not our fault and we need to head back to province before dark I pleaded over and over again until the admin staff had the engineer sign the forms We were able to move out at about 12:30pm and hurried home The next day we sent a message to the person-in-charge reminding her of the video of the remaining PDCs She gave us a cp no. of another person who has the SPA of the unit we rented This is the first time I knew her name and realized she was representing the owner of the unit I called her and introduced myself as the tenant of unit no _ _ _ _ and is reminding her to dispose of the remaining checks so tbat they will not be accidentally deposited I want her to take note that we moved out yesterday, June 25. She told me that she will be looking for the checks when she gets home and will be recording the tearing of the checks and will send the video immediately to me I also told her to request for the return of the security deposit bec the termination of our contract was caused by a fortuitous event and not merely on my own decision I have no choice but to terminate the contract bec it no longer serves the purpose from which it was made There is no time frame for the resumption of classes and it will be a waste of money if we will continue paying for it The next morning, which is a Saturday, I did not receive any video. I waited until Monday came, no video was sent I called again, still she promised me the same, that she will be sending the videos of the said PDCs I followed up and asked her if she was able to convince the owner to return the security deposit but she told ne that the owner is not easy to convince and most likely will not agree on returning the security deposit I sent her messages and tried calling her and also the person-in-charge but they were not answering my calls and were not replying to my messages Nine days after our last conversation, I was adviced by a lawyer friend to go the bank and request for the stop payment of the remaining PDCs I was shaking and cannot believe it when I found out that 1 of the 3 remaining checks was deposited last June 26 A day after we moved out and the same day we talked to each other on the phone and told me that she is still looking for my 3 PDCs All these instances shows how people betray our trust no matter how we have been responsible as tenants of their unit I informed them both with what I found out but the person-in-charge already defended herself saying that she immediately told the owner’s representative/SPA about the said checks She told me to call the owner’s representative even if I told her she was not answering any of my calls I sent them both messages and pleaded to return the money to the account on the check but they didn’t. These were encashed: Rent for March-April, April-May, May-June and June-July plus security deposit. These totals P55,000. Plus 2 PDCs which no video was sent up to now.... I feel betrayed and fooled I cannot imagine how other people can show this kind of attitude to their fellow Filipinos amidst these trying times I am in disbelief how inconsiderate and cruel some people can be I learned my lesson of not over-trusting people and that sometimes we have to be careful and know the boundaries and limits where we should protect ourselves. I had a lawyer write a demand letter and I don’t know where this will lead to. No matter what, I believe that God sees everything that we do to others and the good and the bad we do twill surely come back to us some time in our lives. We cannot easily get away with it for God sees it all MCC

Vincent Nichols Arienza
My question is lessors have prices on there units that often are more than usual and customary monthly rentals charges for the area or other comparables in the same area or same building. With that said can I negotiate the price of a rental unit? Thanks

Romnick Echavez
Thank you. noted

Maximo Garcia
read and check the contract before signing.

Merryl Taguicana

Ma Glecy Perez
Be vigilant , read contract 2x even more to see fine prints

Jocyl Jamandron
Noted po.

Gee Molina
Very good

Ma Theresa Rabe
Thanks for the very informative tips and guide to avoid rental scam

Jeniza Bulacja
Thank you

Makoto Morii
Thanks noted .

Luis Abuyo
Thank you for concerned info.

Camille Macasiog

Evangeline Cabigting
Noted and thank u again

Maricel Tobin
Very helpful for a new tenants like me..

Excelsa Mauricio
Thank you

Manjun Kim

Noel Loquillano
noted thanks

Gina Madayag

Shri Ng

Myrel Gamiten

Michael Tiu
Always communicate with a licensed brokers

Heide Mallillin

Gwyneth Jane Fornan

Janette Duran

Hector Guillena
Thank you and Noted ..

Ocean Melarpez
Thank you again

Marites Legurpa

Myrna Duncan

Roberto Lau
OK thanks

Ruzzel Hernandez

John Carlos Canalita

John Ritchie

Cecile Marie Cruz

Edwin Lansang

Geraldine Guittap

Christian Bernaldez

Aljohn Mendiola

Norhana Banda
Thank you

Bruce Kim

Lucille Marquez
I’m a Real Estate Broker, Thank you Rentpad for the statement number 2. To all Lessee out there please deal with Real Estate License practitioners only

Juvy Lantajo
Noted.. Thanks

Alejandro Abellera
Noted. Thanks for the advice

Marilou Obaldo
Everything noted so hope I can talk over phone contacts the admin person in charge of prior to my ocular visit!. Send me contact details please. Thnks

Esther Romana
Noted...and thank you again p0

Eden Guardacasa

Jacky Guo
Noted...and thank you again

Naoki Masuda
Noted thank you!!

Cathie Concepcion
Thank you again

Jade Florendo

Benigno Casipit

Cris Chan

Kosuke Oki

Medel Calado
Very much informative. Thanks.

Michelle Torres
Okey, thank you

Evelyn Jubay
Noted. Thank you very much.

Florante Lagman
Noted and ty again... sincerely, Florante

Jamielyn Nuez
Thanks again…

Noel Opalalic

Ian Pao

Edwina Geneblazo


Suggested Reads  👌