Property Management Blog

How to Recognize and Avoid Rental Scams

Pinnacle Property Management - Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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Gone are the days when you were limited to marketing to the confines of your community. The popularity of social media and online marketing has rewarded most business owners since ads can now be viewed by a wider market outside of your community. 

Landlords have greater market reach and can advertise to prospective renters everywhere no matter where their rental property is situated.

But the presence of online marketing has also increased the rise in online scammers who are also targeting to make money off other people’s business efforts. Scams are often conducted when landlords are marketing their rental units.

Being a victim of a scam can result in people’s loss of trust. Your rental property would be ignored by potential tenants and your reputation as a rental property owner gets damaged. As a landlord, building awareness of scams and preparing yourself for them is the best strategy to take.

Below are situations you can encounter with a scammer:

1. A Scammer Uses Your Ads and Images

Scammers can take photos from ads online to market them like their own. They’d pick one rental ad and use it on another property listing website, acting as if they’re the landlord for that specific rental space. When a prospective renter gets interested in the property, they’d proceed to respond to the questions of the potential resident.

person using computer

2. A Scammer Asks for Money from Potential Renters 

Now that a scammer lands a prospective tenant, the next step for them is to manipulate them to pay the deposit. They will request a downpayment from the interested potential resident as a reservation of the rental property.

3. A Tenant Finds Out About the Scam

Now that a prospective renter paid the scammer a rental deposit, one can expect the scammer to disappear. Contact stops once they get the money while the tenants are left confused why they couldn’t reach out to the person they assumed to be the landlord. When that happens, it will inform the renters that they’ve been scammed.

At times, potential tenants may still have no clue that they got scammed and may drop by the rental property. This stage is where they’ll find out the hard reality of the scam which results in distress. The danger of this situation is they’ll end up concluding that the real property owner was the scammer and skimmed the money off them.

This can have a negative impact on the rental business since property owners are blamed for actions done by scammers. The prospective renter can warn others of the same tragic experience by posting to their online accounts. They’ll tell other potential tenants to avoid applying as residents for that specific rental or interacting with the landlord due to the scam.

person on phone call with tenant

Landlords may not think scams affect them but this highlights the risk and the backlash they’ll get from scammed prospective residents. If scam incidents are left ignored, the landlord and rental business suffers from gaining an ill reputation. Both landlords and tenants can take actionable steps to limit the occurrence of scams and their negative business impact.

Tips Tenants Can Follow to Limit Being Victims of a Scam

Tenants can protect themselves from being victims of a scam by complying with a set of measures. They can do the following to ensure they avoid being scammed:

  • Always schedule a property viewing first.

  • Ensure that you’re engaging with the real landlord.

  • Communicate with the present and former residents of the rental property.

  • Do your due diligence and verify the landlord and rental location before sending a deposit.

Spotting Signs of an Online Scam

With the increase in online scams, tenants must be quick to notice the signs of it. Being alert to scams ensures their money remains intact in their keeping. Here are some signs of online scams:

  • The rental rate is far lower than other similar properties around the neighborhood.

  • When they ask to view the rental property, the landlord is “not available” to conduct a property showing.

  • Reserving the rental property costs a lot of money.

  • Personal or financial information beyond what’s typically asked is requested by the landlord. 

How Landlords Can Protect Their Rental Property

A great way to protect your rental property investment is partnering with a reliable property manager that has built a solid reputation in the industry. Pinnacle Property Management has effective strategies, tools, and resources to keep your ads from being posted by scammers. 

business professionals in office

If your rental property ad is used in some way by another website, we act quickly to have it removed. We protect your rental property from scammers and work to maintain an excellent reputation.

Cultivate a Partnership with Pinnacle Property Management

Landlords who have been in the business for some time know that hiring a trusted property management company is instrumental in succeeding in the rental property industry. Property management companies streamline business operations and can be trusted to handle fulfilling the daily tasks of running the rental unit.

A full range of property management services is also offered, such as collecting the rent promptly, coordinating repairs and performing property maintenance, screening the tenants, and marketing vacant rental properties. This includes crafting and posting ads using trusted websites and ensuring your ads are seen by the right target market, and lead to more engagement on a reputable site.

Property management companies ensure that your property ads are protected from the hands of scammers. They help eliminate incidents of scamming prospective residents.

Bottom Line

Learn more about how Pinnacle Property Management serves your rental management needs. Our team of professionals has full expertise in achieving success and maximum returns for your rental investment properties. 

We are based in the heart of the South Bay and offer more than three decades of property management experience. We serve Los Angeles County and the surrounding area. Contact us today to find out the tailored property solutions we offer for rental property owners!

Pinnacle Property Management
CA DRE # 01905815
22700 Crenshaw Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90505
Ph: (310) 530-0606
Fax: (310) 626-9786

We are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm M-F.

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