Rental scams: Beware 'hijacked ads' | Fin24
 
  • All Mixed Up

    The ANC election manifesto is like the biriyani of political documents, writes Ferial Haffajee.

  • Crackdown

    Businesses have reopened in Zimbabwe as armed soldiers keep watch.

  • Fin24’s newsletter

    Sign up to receive Fin24's top news in your inbox every morning.

Loading...

Rental scams: Beware 'hijacked ads'

Dec 27 2018 20:08
Man search apartments and houses online with mobil

Man search apartments and houses online with mobile device. Holiday home rental or real estate website or application. Imaginary internet marketplace for vacation lodging or finding new home.

Related Articles

PICS: Tourists fork out R960 000 for 4 nights in Clifton - in low season

PICS: Super luxury Cape Town villas for R89 000 to R189 000 per day

Should you buy or rent a home?

Online offers bring transparency to rental market

Joburg’s top investment-grade suburbs

Short-term holiday leasing: are you covered?

 

Social media and online scamming has grown exponentially in recent years, including so-called "hijacked ads", according to Mark Burt, rentals manager of Greeff Rentals.

In this scam, criminals make use of real properties that have been listed on legitimate sites. The ad's contact information is modified and gets relisted, usually on lesser known websites, where unsuspecting tenants fall victim to rental scams.

Burt advises tenants to only search for rental properties on well-known property portals.

"These portals follow a stringent security process wherein they are required to establish ownership of each property before listing. Finding a property listed on one of these websites is a good indicator of the validity of the rental," he suggests.

"Consider properties that are listed by a reputable agency. Find a brand that you or someone that you know trust and contact them about the property you are interested in."

Watch out for these five red flags, says Burt.

  • Be cautious if the "landlord or agent" refuses to or cannot meet you in person. An agent or landlord will always do their utmost to meet you at your convenience, he advises.
  • Be wary if an "agent or landlord" expresses enthusiasm or insists on renting out a property without having done a thorough background and credit check.
  • Be cautious if you are asked to pay a deposit, portion of a deposit or your rent without having signed a lease agreement or having had a proper viewing of the property.
  • Be suspicious if the agent or landlord does not ask to sign a lease agreement due to a distorted verbal agreement. Always insist on signing a lease agreement and going through it thoroughly as well as keeping a copy for yourself.
  • Be aware if your agent or landlord asks you to pay your deposit or rent in cash. This is dangerous for many obvious reasons. It is important to have a paper trail.

Burt advises would-be renters to conduct the necessary due diligence before entering into a potentially detrimental agreement.

"If you have taken the time to ask the right questions then your risk is minimised accordingly. Don't be afraid to have an attorney investigate the validity of the owner and contract you have been presented with, if you are not using an agent. This will come at an extra cost but will give you peace of mind," suggests Burt.

"Lastly, if after everything something still feels wrong with the listing, the landlord's story changes or something just seems odd, then halt the process and revaluate," says Burt.

property  |  personal finance  |  money  |  rental  |  scams
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 
 

Company Snapshot

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

Should it be mandatory for SA companies to report pay discrepancies between men and women?

Previous results · Suggest a vote

Loading...