4 Warning Signs to Safeguard Against Lease Scams

September 21, 2023

Securing a new rental property is exciting, but exercising caution and diligence is essential before signing a lease agreement or transferring ingoing funds.

While most landlords are genuine and trustworthy, they must be aware of potential red flags that could indicate fraudulent behaviour. 

In 2023, The Consumer Protection's WA ScamNet team was informed by 41 victims who collectively lost $86,525 to fraudsters pretending to be landlords. These scammers advertise on online marketplaces and social media platforms with counterfeit property listings and responses to 'rental wanted' advertisements.

If you're a prospective tenant searching for the right rental property or a landlord aiming to attract trustworthy tenants, here are some key indicators to consider during the evaluation process. 

These highlight the importance of staying vigilant to protect your interests and ensure a safe and positive rental experience.

1. Documentation Transparency

Trustworthy landlords are upfront and transparent about property documentation, including lease terms, rental agreements, and property condition reports. If a landlord hesitates to provide essential documents or avoids discussing lease details, it could cause concern.

On the other hand, landlords, should be open and willing to share these documents to avoid suspicions among potential tenants. Remember, trust forms the fundamental basis of the landlord-tenant relationship, so both parties should strive to earn and maintain it. 

2. Pressure to Rush

Be cautious if a landlord pressures you to sign a lease hastily without providing sufficient time for review. Rushed agreements can obscure critical details and terms, potentially leading to unfavourable outcomes for tenants.

While it's understandable that landlords aim to rent their property quickly, it's essential for landlords not to be overly aggressive to the point of intimidating prospective tenants.

3. Property Discrepancies

Inspect the property carefully and compare it to the information provided online/from the landlord. If there are substantial discrepancies between what you were shown and the property’s actual condition, it might indicate dishonesty on the landlord's part.

To avoid this scenario, landlords should ensure their property is in impeccable condition before listing it. Ensure that the property's current state matches the images presented to avoid raising concerns for potential tenants.

4. Prioritise Due Diligence

Before signing a lease, conduct thorough research on the landlord. Check for online reviews through Google or any social media platforms and inquire about their reputation in the rental community. A reputable landlord will have a positive track record.

For landlords, more is needed to merely list your property online; responding to inquiries and feedback promptly to maintain positive reviews is crucial. This practice not only attracts new tenants but also enhances the overall appeal of your property.

Both landlords and tenants can rent through a real estate agency, which can conduct comprehensive background checks on both parties and ensure that all leases adhere to legal standards.

As a property management company, Rent Choice prioritises your safety and peace of mind. We understand the concerns of navigating the rental market, so we're dedicated to safeguarding you from rental scams

With Rent Choice, you can confidently avoid rental scams and embark on a secure and rewarding rental journey. Your trust and security are our top priorities. 

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