Rental Scam?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by teflon, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. teflon, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011

    teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #1
    I'm a first time renter, looking for an apartment/studio in Manhattan. I was hoping to not have to go through brokers and such and just use listings online. But now the more I look, the more I'm afraid I'm going to get scammed, even though rental scams seems to be relatively rare.
    So there's this one listing, where the contact number for the person is a landline in Seattle. The listing is even a "featured listing" on the website. Another one's phone number is a landline in Syracuse. Is it possible that these people (I suppose they could be startup real estate agents) are doing business while they're not here? And what happens if I actually call? Also, there's a listing that has the phone number of a design company in New York.
    Then there's this landlord/agent I've been corresponding to via email. This apartment has been listed at numerous rental websites (the free kind). And the person only has one listing. Which makes sense, since she says she owns the unit. Except she puts herself as part of a realty company, whose name starts with her last name.
    The price is quite low for the area, but she did email me a rental application form. And at least her number is in New York.
    She offers a discount if you pay 3 months upfront, more if you pay even more upfront. I was thinking of paying 3 month upfront, but I'm afraid that she's going to bail and disappear. Plus I'm not moving in until about 4 months later, so there's plenty of empty time in between that she can disappear on me.
    So exactly what should I ask/do to make sure the listing/landlords are legit? And since I'm not moving in for months, should I wait until what, a week before moving in to pay them the security and rent?
     
  2. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #2
    You're four months away from wanting to actually move in??? I think you're looking to early.

    I can't imagine any landlord holding an apartment that long without your paying for all the time you wont be living there
     
  3. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Hogtown
    #3
    sounds like a typical rental scam ... I would rent an apartment closer to your moving date.
     
  4. teflon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #4
    It's just that I'm in New York right now but I won't be in about two months. So the two months prior to my move in date I won't be in the city. I thought I could start the search now and be able to check out the place in person and sign the paperwork and whatnot.
    The landlord said she has a current tenant whose lease is up a month before I move in, so my move in date works. However, I'm not allowed to see the place because there's someone living there right now and they have a "privacy policy." Is this normal?
    However on her listings on the websites, one said the availability was Apr.1, and one said "now." So either she hasn't taken down the listings, or she is already looking for her next tenant? I have no idea how the whole renting thing works.
    She did agree to meet face to face though. Should I ask her to bring some documents? Ownership papers perhaps?
     
  5. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Hogtown
    #5
    I have never heard of a "Privacy Policy" ... if it is legit, every landlord would only have to give the tenant 24 hours notice to show the unit to a future tenant.

    I would walk away from this unit and keep looking ... saving a few bucks by paying lots of money up-front could end bad for you.

    being so far away ... maybe a reputable rental agent who works for an established RealEstate company is your best bet.

    You do not want to show up on moving day and find out that you have nowhere to stay and now be in Manhattan.
     
  6. teflon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #6
    Ok thanks! I've never rented before, I thought the privacy policy had some merit to it... you don't want curious people running around your tenant's home all the time. But obviously it's not so.
    By the way, the aforementioned listers with false/out of town numbers, can I assume they're all scams?
    How long in advance (to the moving date) should I start looking for an apartment?
     
  7. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Hogtown
    #7
    Only deal with people that are in NY and can show the unit ... just keep looking

    You could find something even 2-3 months before moving date. Might be a scenario where the tenant is not renewing their lease and the landlord knows this in advance.

    just be patient and do not rent unless you have a good feeling about the place.

    good luck ... Manhattan is an awesome place to live.
     

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