An increasingly common scam involves crooks posing as landlords for property they don’t own, taking a deposit from hopeful would-be tenants and then disappearing into the night with the money.
The Associated Press reports that Adam Christianson, sheriff of Stanislaus County, says “What you have is primarily young, unsuspecting victims who truly believe they’re entering into a legitimate rental agreement. Before you know it, the real [property manager] shows up and says `Why are you here?’ Then they’re out on the street, and also out the money for first and last month’s rent and deposit.”
One of the best way’s to avoid being scammed is to use a rental agent.
Setting a rental budget
For many renters the most important consideration is how much they are willing to spend on a rental per month. For this reason it should come as no surprise that the first step in the rental process should include establishing a budget. Renters should consider their monthly income and subtract out all of their monthly expenses from this amount. Monthly expenses should include all bills which are paid regularly as well as money spent on food, entertainment and miscellaneous items each month. The renter may also wish to subtract out an additional amount to allow for some savings each month as well as emergencies. The total left after these subtractions is the amount the renter is able to spend on an rental per month. Once this amount is established the renter will have a better understanding of the type of rental they are able to afford.
When you know you budget and you’re ready to shop for a new home, contact an agent. Rental agents cost the renter nothing and they don’t work for one specific building. A rental agent can see all the rentals that are available to make sure that you get the best value for your money. [Learn more]For more information or to set up an appointment call Stuart at (703)765-0300.