5 Ways to Avoid Rental Scams

- 18/03/2020
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By Stephen Otieno:

There comes a time when you find a good house to the eyes, and you can’t wait to pay and move in. Just before you make the payment, it is important to let your subconscious mind play its role. Scammers are good at mind games and would dupe you before you know it. They make calculated moves headed towards psychological manipulation with an intention to confuse you. Rental scams are not new in highly populated cities, such as Nairobi and others. Here are five ways you can avoid rental scams:

  • Never make any payment before visiting and seeing the apartment physically.

In real estate, seeing the property is primal before talking about any business deals. Imagine meeting someone online and starting to make payments; this appears quite unreasonable even though it has affected a number of people mainly in the cities. Some scammers simply parade apartment photos downloaded from millions of websites available for free in the internet. Never pay for a property that you have not seen; it could lead to many inconveniences.

  • Verify information and ownership

Many people never think about confirming the owner of the property that they want to rent. It is important to confirm with existing tenants the owner of the property you want to hire. Another way to verify landlords and landladies is by visiting online reviews of an apartment if one exists. Moreover, it is not advisable to trust all social media posts or adverts on vacant houses. Some tenants are fond of taking charge of landlords’ or caretakers’ work. Such tenants may illicitly receive funds on behalf of the landlord. Ultimately, it is important to make payments digitally or through banks rather than cash. Digital transactions are easily provable. 

  • Inquire if the landlord or urgency returns deposits at the end of lease

Most landlords are fond of withholding deposits when the lease ends. It is important to know if the landlord is reliable and may pay back deposits when the lease ends. Some landlords may bring forth non-existent or excessive damage claims to find a way to escape from paying back the deposit amount.

  • Avoid deals that appear too good to be true

The cliché phrase “When a deal is too good, think twice” has its place in the real estate businesses. A deal that is too good calls for uttermost attention; you have to be extra careful. For instance, renting a two bedroom for Ksh. 5,000 is quite irrational. Good deals are evident and make sense even if assessed.

  • Be aware of Copy-Pasted Ads

Each time you see a copy-pasted ad, think twice. Copy-pasted ads have higher chances of being a scam. A legitimate landlord prepares their own advert that matches the specifications of the apartment in question. Scammers like short cuts to making dirty money. Once you come across an ad, assess it and see if it looks genuine. But never make any payment before visiting the property and considering all other authentication factors.

  • Always sign a lease agreement

Make sure to sign a lease agreement after reading all its provisions, and then keep it safe. Be ready to produce it each time it’s needed. A lease agreement may be of great help in court in case of any disagreements between you and the landlord or the urgency.

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