I’ve been looking at the option of renting for a little while before buying. If we could find a landlord who is willing to work with us in our odd circumstances, we could get a job in our target city. With a job we could look at additional financing for buying a house, and it would be tons easier looking at potential houses.
Craigslist has a lot of rental listings, so I sent several messages to landlords telling them about our circumstances and asking if they’d be willing to work with us. While I did hear back from a couple of legitimate landlords, I also got at least five emails from people involved in housing scams.
They’re fairly easy to spot–misspellings, poor grammar, incorrect punctuation and capitalization, justification for all of the questionable circumstances surrounding their rental process, oversharing of personal information, etc.
I just wanted to warn others who might be desperate to find a place to live, like us. If the deal sounds too good to be true or their message sounds fishy, it’s probably a scam. Below are a few of the messages I’ve received. You can see that they are very similar.
Tips for spotting a housing scam:
- Great price for the rental that’s listed
- Poor spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation
- Justification for why the property is listed (fancy out-of-state job which will last several years)
- You are directed to drive by the property, peek in the windows, and disregard the “For Sale” sign in the yard. They don’t offer to let you see the inside of the property.
- Request for your personal information
- They say that they’ll send the keys in the mail once a contract has been signed and you’ve paid the rent and deposit (or a certain amount to “reserve” the property)
- Solicitous that you treat the property as your own and maintain it nicely so that they would be proud to visit it when they’re in the area
Actual email quotes that I received:
“The house is still available for rent I decided to rent my house because my company sent me to OK I am adviser on oil platform, My job is as secure as can be. I’ve been with this company for 6 years now and have been in this line of work for 25 years so my accommodation period in OK will be about 4-7 years.I must confess to you that I am very new in this landlord business.However my name is Scott Palmer I own the 4bed 2full bath property Located at **** The initial plan was to sell the House which I tried, but sometimes the agents inflates the prize and it takes longer time to sell. Pet are allowed.rent is $700 and a refundable security deposit is $1000 You can go over and view the house first If you like it then you can contact me so we can make proper arrangement for the keys and contract”
Thanks for mailing me regarding the house, it is still available, but now I’m out of the state because I got transferred due to my work. I am a stock broker for Charles Schwab brokerage before I found a better job opportunities. I will be staying here in New York for a long time. I came over here with my Wife and we decided to stay here for few years because we like it here. We wanted to sell the property but my Wife advised me not to sell the house, so I contacted the realty handling the house back in the state and requested for my keys and the paper work. We would have given the same agent this job, but we want to rent the house out ourselves and I do not have anyone in the area I can leave the keys behind with. If you notice the price we are offering is far below normal. I want my property to be well taken good care of, and there are some rules and regulation in which I do give out to tenant willing to rent my house so please don’t disrespect my order But if you are still capable of renting my house the rules and regulation goes this way; You must keep my house clean including the surrounding, you must know the way in which you use the stove so as to avoid fire outbreak,you must not disturb the neighbor.I decided to rent out the property due to our transfer to New York so we are renting it out since we need someone to take good care of the property on our absent.
Don’t be surprise if you find the home with another site and deference price, I have plan to rent it through Real estate before but they are not serious simply because they have a lot of house to lease out And they added some money to the rent while there commission is not fair. Have this in mind you must know the kind of person that I’m nevertheless I am giving you this rules because of what corresponded between me and my last tenant, the keys and documents are with us here in New York… So I will need to ship them to you before you can occupy the house But you can drive by the house anytime to take a look at the area and surrounding, You can also peek through the windows if you don’t mind.For now we are looking for 3 or 4 years lease or rather lets us know how long you wish to stay.
Attn : The rent are including the Utilities are intact such as Dishwasher,Dryer, Electric Stove, Fridge, Washer,Air Condition,Sewage,Trash, Other amenities include ; large eat-in kitchen with refrigerator, gas stove/oven, and microwave oven; spacious living room with fireplace; deck; laundry room off kitchen with washer & dryer; and cable/internet ready.Hi-efficiency gas heat & electric hot water, city water.all included in the monthly rent,as i am in a governmental programmer that sponsors my utilities on monthly basis etc.
Please note that, we are a kind and honest family,that spent a lot on property that is available for rent, so in one accord,we are soliciting for your absolute maintenance of this house and want you to treat it as your own.We want you to keep it tidy all the time so that we shall be glad to see it whenever we are around on a visit.
SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENTAL APPLICATION FORMS BELOW
RENT APPLICATION FORM AND TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU .
1) Your Full Name
2A) Home Phone ?
2B) Cell Phone Number ?
3) Your Full Address :
4) How old are you?
5a) Are you married?
5b) How many people will be living in the house?
6a) Do you have a pet?
6b) What type
7a) Do you have a car?
7b) What type?
9) Do you smoke?
10) Do you Drink ?
11) Do you work at Night ?
12) What is your monthly income?
13) Reference Contact Name and Address?
14) When do you intend Moving in?
15) private email :
16 ) picture of you and your family?
17) When can you pay for your deposit to
secure or move in?
Notice : Call me immediately you fill out the application
Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that we can have it our file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you..
Await your prompt reply so that we can discuss on the rental terms and agreement, please we are renting the house to you base on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words.So please do not let us down in maintaining this our property and God bless you more as you do this.”
I received your inquiry about my property for rent at **** , My name is ****, My family and I just moved down to Las Vegas,NV due to my job transfer, we will be here for 4 to 5 years. My initial plan was to sell the house but I find it difficult to let go this adorable home, I have decided to rent home to a responsible tenant who is willing to take very good care of it in our absence. Pets are allowed as long as they are not destructive. The rent is $725 and security deposit is $700 and total move-in cost is $1,425 and all the utilities are included in the monthly rent,as i am in a governmental programmer that sponsors my utilities on monthly basis and pets are also allowed. Feel free to contact me via email for further inquiries .You can drive-by to view the outside and neighborhood of the house and get back to me with the rental questionnaire filled out.
General house description:
Below are some questions I need you to answer so we can discuss further. You can only drive by the property for now to check the outside and the neighborhood, it is available for a long lease. Get back to me for further discussion on how to get the keys and paperwork of the property to you if I find you suitable and decide to rent the property to you..
Name (First name/ Middle name/Surname ) : __________?
Phone numbers (home,cell and office line ) # :__________?
How many proposed occupants :__________?
List all in addition to yourself including approx age :__________?
Present Address :__________?
Will you have pets :__________?
Please describe Breed, size :__________?
Personality of pet :__________?
When do you plan to move in, please write exact date?
Intended length of lease:__________?
Do you agree to pay the payment before you move in:__________?
If you are ask to make a down payment to secure the house today and take it off market, How much will you be able to pay:__________?
Length of previous tenancy :__________?
Present occupation :__________?
Are you a section 8 applicant
Do you work late night :__________?
Do you smoke :__________?
Do you drink :__________?
I ___________________, Certify that answers given herein are true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I authorize investigation of all statements contained in this application for tenant screening as may be necessary in arriving at a tenant decision. I understand that the landlord may terminate any rental agreement entered into for any misrepresentation made above.
Looking forward to hearing from you with all these details so that I can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt and contacting you. Await your reply so we can discuss on how to get the document and the key to you.
N.B: I want you to know that we never had an intention of renting out the home until we got down here when my wife got sick so we had to rent out the home so we can use the monthly rent as a source of income to carter for my wife and the kids,so should in case we had an intention of renting the home then we would have drop down the keys with someone to handle the rental on our behalf but since we don’t then that is why we had t o bring the keys over here,so we will be mailing out the keys to you as soon as we finalize the rental processes OK?
Thanks and God bless.”
Am sorry for the late response. It’s my great pleasure that you are interested in our lovely home for rent.My name is **** am the owner of this home, Actually we resided in this home before and presently we have packed out due to my transfer as a matter of my profession, where I work as a Civil Engineer I am here in Kenya. And my wife who is a missionary’s dealing with Bible Translation and literacy worldwide…Please i want you to note that i spent a lot on my property that i want to give to you for rent, so i will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this house and want you to treat it as your own, It is not the money that is the main problem but i want you to keep it tidy all the time so that i will be glad to see it neat when i come for a check up. I also want you to let me have trust in you as i always stand on my word. Me and my wife bought the house when we got married. When we left the state I had a thought of selling the house so I have to look for an agent, after getting one, we got a deal but later my wife advised against that. I reasoned with her and accepted her advise. So I contacted the agent back and requested for my keys and documents. Later we decided to have the house rent out our-self, we would have give the same agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent would want to handle it professionally and the occupant may not be able to reason along with him later. If you notice, you will discovered that the price we are offering is far below standard price, this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the absolute care for the property.
The house include the utilities like Heat, A/C in wall/window, Hydro, cable, Garbage Disposal, Fireplace ,Fridge, stove, Dishwasher, Dryer, Breakfast Bar, Dining Table and Sofa Set,Refrigerator,Canopied deck overlooking nature.,internet access e.t.c. because of this reason and more we need a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money, but want it to be clean and for you to take it as if it were yours.
This is the address of the House (****)
The rent is: $600
Security Deposit: $700
2 beds / 1 baths 888ft2 available now
cats are OK – purrr
dogs are OK – wooof
SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENT APPLICATION FORM BELOW.
1.) Your full Name?______________________________
2.) Your full address & mobile number / home #?______________________________
3.) Marital Status / DOB?___________________________________________
4.) How many people will be living in the house and Names of people moving in with you?
5.) Length of previous tenancy and occupation of each person move in with you?
6.) Do you have a car / Do you have a pet? Please describe Breed, size______________________________
7.) Are you a section 8 applicant?__________________
8.) Do you run a business from home, If so what kind of business?___________________
9.) How often do you do your current house cleaning?___________________
10.) When will you like to move in?_____________________________
11.) How long are you willing to stay in the property?________________
12.) When are you ready to Move In, please write exact move in date?________________
13.) How many months rent can you pay upfront? Minimum ( 1 month +
SECURITY DEPOSIT ) or ( 2 months + SECURITY DEPOSIT ), so which option
do you prefer ??________________
14.) Earliest possible date of deposit?_____________
15.) Can we trust you and our house safe keeping in your hand?_______________________
16.) If you are ask to make a down payment to secure the house today and take it off market, How much will you be able to pay:__________?
17.) Do you work late night and do you smoke and drink? (We just wanna know don’t get it twisted) no hard feelings.
19.)Attach A Copy Of Your Driver License
20.) Applicant Comment:
Looking forward to hearing from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you…Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the keys to you,please we are giving you all this based on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that we have not seen yet and only putting everything into Gods hands,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do this…The house is available for rent at the moment so you are free to move in as soon as you wish to. Feel free to get back to me for more information and arrangements on how to get the keys and other necessary documents delivered to you. The house will be available for rent for a period of 5 years so you have a choice of deciding how long you intend staying there…
YOU CAN CALL ME OR TEXT ON THESE NUMBER:****”
Thanks for your interest and inquiry about my house. Yes the house is still available for rent and we are looking for a responsible person/family to occupy and maintain the house now that we are not around. Myself and my wife just traveled to Oroville, CA for a program called SERVING IN MISSION (SIM), you can view the link for more info: (http://www.sim.org/index.php/content/our-purpose).
We will be away for 3 to 4 years or more that is why I have made up my mind to put up my house for rent to whom ever that will take good care of it. However, my initial plan was to sell the house but it was not successful because the Realtor raised the price which made it difficult for me to sell before leaving the States so never mind if you see the for sale sign in front of the house, It has already been taken off the market as for sale so there is no need to contact any Realtor.
I want you to understand that I spent a lot on my property that you have requested to rent, so I will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this house and would want you to treat it as your own because cleanliness they say is next to Godliness. It is not all about the money to be paid on rent or spent; it is all about a good maintenance culture which I want you to adopt on the property. I want you to keep it tidy all the time so that I would be full of smiles whenever I come and above all, a good, strong and tight relationship between us when I come for a check up. Please one more thing, I wouldn’t like to have any benefit of trust in you because I want to stand in your words that the property would be well taken care of all the time. I believe you have seen how lovely it is if from only the pictures you saw in my posting compare to the 100% comfort to be derived from it as you are an occupant.”
Notice any common themes in these messages?