Hunting for an apartment should be a fun and an exciting process. However, rental frauds can turn a positive experience into a total nightmare. Even though some listings are genuine, some of them are fraudulent. Studies have shown that a significant number of renters have encountered dubious listings where they end up losing money.
What is rental fraud? It is a situation where someone claims to be a property manager or landlord and tries to rent a property that does not exist or is substantially different from what is advertised. Fraudsters collect application fees, security deposit or even sometimes rent before the renter notices it is a scam.
Here are some of the common types of rental frauds you need to be aware of:
i. Bait and switch
This is an illegal tactic where fraudsters advertise a cheap property to persuade the renter to reach out. When you call to inquire about the listing, the fraudster will inform you that the property is no longer available but there other options that are just good. If you are not careful, you may end up getting an apartment that is not desirable or even lose money.
ii. Phantom rentals
It is a situation where the fraudster makes a listing of places that do not exist or are not rentals. In most cases, they will try to lure you with lower prices in a bid to take your money before you notice.
iii. Hijacked Ads
Some fraudsters hijack other real estate listings by changing the contact information. The altered advertisement may even use the name of the genuine person who posted the original listing. In some cases, the fraudsters alter the email accounts of property owners and authentic rental websites.
iv. Missing amenities
Sometimes a rental property may be listed to have certain facilities and amenities while in actual sense it does not have. The listing agent does so to collect higher rents above the normal rates.
v. Already leased
A listing agent may try to collect application fees or security deposit for a rental unit that has already been occupied by another tenant.
If you don’t want to be conned, you should directly deal with developers or trusted agents with a proven track record. For instance, Meraas Holdings has several off plan projects in Dubai. Meraas Sur la Mer is one of their popular off-plan projects located in the Jumeirah 1 district. Emaar Properties, another reliable developer, has numerous apartments for sale in Dubai Marina that can also be rented at affordable prices.