Apartment and house hunting is hard enough as it is, but the fact that there are fraudulent listings on Craigslist doesn’t make the task any easier. When you’re looking for the next place you’re going to live, know what to look for and stay away from likely fraudulent posts.
Picking Out a Fraud
The big tip-off that a post is fraudulent is that you never get to tour the interior of the home. This is very common of fraudulent Craigslist rental ads. You can sign a rental contract and pay the deposit along with first month’s rent only to find that the person you were negotiating with doesn’t actually own the property. The fraudster ends up with your money, and you get a rental agreement that means nothing.
A listing with interior photos of the home may even be illegitimate — always get an in-person tour of the inside of a property you’re considering. Common excuses for not giving you a tour is that the owner is supposedly out of town, or there are currently tenants living in the property. However, in either case, you should be able to arrange to see the property at some point before giving them your hard-earned cash if it’s a legitimate rental listing.
Another common trait for fraudulent listings is that you are typically dealing with an individual, not someone claiming to be from a reputable Property Management company in Humboldt County. Craigslist has many legitimate posts from both individual Property Owners and property management companies, but the reason it’s a source of fraud is the low barrier for entry. It doesn’t cost anything to post a “for rent” ad on Craigslist, so a fraudster doesn’t need to invest money into the scam.
Several property management companies in Eureka, Arcata, Ferndale, Fortuna, McKinleyville and other towns in Humboldt County, also post their ads on Craigslist, including Real Property Management Humboldt and PPM rentals. To prevent yourself from falling victim to fraud, verify a posting is actually from a company like Real Property Management Humboldt, PPM, or some other property management company by contacting them or checking their website. If you don’t see the property listed on the company website that you saw on Craigslist, contact the company to verify it posted the listing.
Another aspect that has been reoccurring is that a fraudster will use the same photos, and description from a legitimate ad. This makes it incredibly difficult to determine which is the real ad. The fraudster may even identify that it is the same ad and claim they were using a management company and have decided to rent it on their own. It may also be very convenient for the fraudster to appear to be showing the properties we manage because we hold public showings. Please verify all listings on our website, all properties that are no longer available for rent are removed by our company immediately.
Other Property Rental Concerns on Craigslist
One of the issues that are more commonly found on Craigslist is an issue of discrimination. The law prohibits property management companies or individual owners from putting language in their ads that suggests it would prefer/not prefer tenants based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status or handicap/disability. However, private individuals are often unaware of these laws and will still post listings with “no couples” or “female preferred,” especially when it is a single room for rent. If you see this kind of post, Craigslist suggests flagging the post as “prohibited.”
Working with a reputable single family or multifamily property management company will allow you to avoid the pitfalls of navigating rental postings for potential fraud and other issues. For a current list of what Real Property Management Humboldt has to offer, you can search our current rental listings for Humboldt County.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.