Rental Scams

Rental Scams

Do you have rental properties in Silicon Valley?   Do you market the vacancies online?

Well, you might want to wattch out for serious rental scams that are causing both tennants and landlords a lot of time and money.

For example, during marketing a Los Gatos Rental Studio, one potential tenants got the impression that we were scamming her when we mentioned the $20 fee that we require to process application.

So, rental scams are alive and well everywhere should be on the look out for using these techniques:

1) Cozy:  Lise your property on Cozy.com where the tenants can submit and application on their website and apply to be screened.  This way no one can collect application fee from your applicants.

2) Use Google Alerts:   Set up Google Alerts with your property address, so Google can notify you if someone searches the address of your property.

3) Block Address:  Don’t list your rental properites address untill you are contacted by real tenants.   In fact, Trulia has a neat option where the Property Owners can list their rental while blocking the exact location of the property.  This goes a long way to prevent scammers from collecting fees for showing the property since they won’t know where it’s located. However, this solution needs work since Trulia uses Google Map API which shows the location of the property on the map and it would not take that much effort for scammers to find the address of the property.

You could call Trulia Customer Service and have them block the Google Map API on your listing, but that’s extra effort which most Property Owner won’t even imagine to consider.

4) Direct Feeds: Set up daily updates on the availability of your rental property from your website and accept appointments from directly from your website.  If you are posting to craigslist, encourage the tenants to contact you through the Website.

5) Protect Photos:   Use Water Marks to protect your photos so they could not be used in other websites or publications.  You can use VisalWatermarket.com , or Impression app on your iPhone to add water marks to your photos before you use them on your websites.  This way, scammers won’t be able to use them if they copy them.

Finally, be on the look out for strange phone calls and odd requests if you have rentals in San Jose, campbell, Los Gtos and Saratoga.

What do you do to avoid being scammed?