Avoiding Housing Scams :
Watch out for scams/things to watch out for in your housing search in the private market: be cautious! Typically, there are a few tells that can help you identify a scam offer, and a scam can typically include one or more of the following:
- Be on the alert of "landlords" offering you a residence at rates that are much lower than the market standard. The old saying "If it seems too good to be true, it is probably not true" comes to mind.
- Be on the alert of "landlords" who do refuse to provide a direct contact number or the possibility to view the apartment in person.
- Be alert of "landlords" that does not offer the possibility to view the apartment in person - you need to see it in person for verification.
- Be on alert of "landlords" who will pressure you into signing a contract or transferring money straight away. Do not feel pressured into signing anything.
- Beware of any irregularities in what is being offered to you.
- Never pay deposit in cash. Make a bank transaction so the transaction can be traced.
- Never pay cash under the table. It is illegal and you have no legal way of getting your money back.
Make sure that you receive a contract signed by the current tenant or landlord. Always read the contract carefully and make sure that what you agree on is also confirmed in writing.
Be on alert of "landlords" who make their own contracts and do not make use of the official leasing contract.
When subleasing a room or apartment make sure that the landlord/owner of the property is informed of the sublease. This will put you in a better position in case of a conflict between the landlord/owner and the person subletting to you.