Take proper steps when entering into agreements:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Put everything in writing and ensure each party has a signed copy.
- Conduct proper reference checks. For instance, if checking employment references, call the general company phone number not necessarily the specific phone number the prospect has provided.
- Deal with issues or breaches of the agreement as soon as they arise.
- Whenever necessary, get in touch with a lawyer for proper legal advice.
- Google a prospective landlord/tenant/company name before entering a rental agreement.
- Don't include the full property address in your advertisement.
Rental Listings Copied:
The information from rental property ads listed on RentFaster.ca are sometimes copied and falsely advertised on other websites. Often the same basic information is listed, however, the fraudster enters a lower monthly rent and other attributes to make the listing attract a high number of visitors (ie. pets and smoking allowed, extra features, etc). The contact info is also changed. Attempts are then made to have prospects send the fraudster money without actually viewing the property.
Removing the exact address from your ad can help deter fraudsters from copying your listing information. When listing/editing your advertisement on RentFaster.ca, select 'Hide Address = Yes'. Provide people with the exact address only after they contact you about the property. Alternatively, if you're advertising an apartment or condo complex do not include the suite number. If advertising a house for rent, include only the street name.
If you find that your property has been listed on another website, please contact that website to have them remove the ad immediately.
Prospective Renter Scamming the Landord
Here is how the main type of scam works: The prospective tenant (aka 'the scammer') will OVERPAY by sending a cheque or money order for more than you have requested. They will then ask you to deposit the money and send the excess to one of their associates (ie. other family member). The Landlord is caught in the scam if the bank does not realize the forgery (NSF) until after the landlord has already sent the money back to the scammer. Please avoid dealing with people who overpay and ask you to send the additional money back to them or to someone else.
This alert is not meant to discourage Landlords from renting to people from out-of-town. Just please be cautious when dealing with all prospective tenants, and never accept overpayment if having to send the additional monies elsewhere.
Landlord Scamming Prospective Tenant
Here is an example of one type scam: Upon contacting the "landlord", the renter receives an email like this:
Thanks for your interest in my apartment,I will like to let you know the apartment is still very much available . I do reside in the apartment when I was there in Canada with my wife and two kids and our lovely yorkie pup. We got transferred to Western part of Africa (Nigeria) for a missionary assignment by our church, and all the keys and the document of the flat are with me right here ,If you are really interested in this apartment. I will like you to fill the rent application form below and send it back to me so that I can make an arrange on how the keys and other document that will be sent to you via DHL Int'l, FedEx or UPS Express for safety and fast delivery of the document. The apartment is not a shared apartment, its all for you and your family. That's why I really need your maximum assistant in tidy up the place .
Here is a scam we recently were notified of: "A fraudster posing as a potential tenant looks for ads with immediate possession, which tells them the property is vacant. He/she calls the landlord asking to see the property right away to get info on the property, and to get the owner's name off the voicemail or from the owner in case they run into any neighbors they can say the owner sent them. They enter into the property, steal the appliances, lawn mowers, etc. and then sell the appliances on the web."
Grow-Op Information: What to look for...
We worked with a member of the Calgary Police to create a grow-op information page. The page is full of advice regarding tenant screening, indicators of a grow-op occurring, pictures, and other tips that should help prevent this from taking place in your rental property.
"Freeman on the Land" movement..."
Here is some info the Calgary Residential Rental Association sent out on September 27th, 2013: "Freeman" security alert from the CRRA
RentFaster.ca has implemented several measures to prevent scams from taking place through this website. However, please still be cautious and become aware of the types of issues you may encounter.