Families and individuals looking to relocate to the Las Vegas area and wanting to lease or rent single family homes need to thoroughly research properties they’re interested in as well as who is managing them. It appears that rental scams in southern Nevada are once again on the rise. Even worse is the fact that there are a number of different scams to watch out for such as:
- Legitimate online ads that have been hijacked by scam artists who change the contact information and create a fake advertisement in its place.
- Properties that are advertised online but don’t exist (a.k.a. “phantom” properties).
- Vacant properties that scammers have changed the locks on.
These are just a few of the more common ones that property management companies are aware of. Fortunately, there are certain “red flags” or warning signs that you should watch out for when searching for rental properties in the Las Vegas area, specifically those where the property is priced considerably lower than similar properties in the same area or neighborhood.
What to Watch Out For
Remember the old rule of thumb: “If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is.”
Other warning signs include:
- Individuals who are unable to meet in person, claim to be outside the US, or are never available and want to conduct business without ever meeting face to face.
- Individuals who only want payments in cash or reloadable credit cards that are very difficult to trace.
- Individuals who require unusually large fees up front prior to signing any lease or rental agreement.
- Individuals who want cash payments and don’t require applicants to undergo a screening process.
Knowing these warning signs could save you a lot of money and grief. Just be sure that you’ve done your homework before committing to any lease or rental agreement.
What You Can do
There are a number of steps you can take in order to avoid being a victim of a rental scam. First and foremost, research the landlord or property management company as thoroughly as possible. Google is a great tool to have at your disposal where this type of issue is concerned. If you’re leasing or renting from an individual and not a property management company, be sure to verify that they are who they say they are and that they actually own the property. You can usually find public records online.
These are just some of the reasons why it’s always a good idea to work with a property manager or management company when searching for a home to lease or rent. They have access to or can find information on most rental properties. Most important of all, NEVER lease or rent any property without seeing it first. If you are unable to do so, ask a friend or relative to check it out.