It’s official! The Portland area rental market has the lowest vacancy rate in the nation. Combine that with the fact Portland has seen the highest increases in rent in the country and we’ve got an environment full of obstacles when it comes to finding a place to live.
When the rental market is this crazy, those without scruples will find a way to prey on nice people that are desperately trying to find a place to call home. We’ve all heard of scams on Craigslist, but unless you’ve been scammed, it’s easy to pass them off as urban legend. Desperate times can skew our judgement! So with that, some tips on things to watch out for:
1. It’s too good to be true.
Gorgeous 3br/3ba home close to downtown Portland! $1000/mo…Um, never mind. The price is preposterous for what it is. That is a scam and a half. STAY AWAY.
2. It’s too good to be true: part deux.
NO APP FEE! Bad credit is no problem! Both of these things are designed to lure folks that have a less-than-good credit score and a limited budget (which makes up most of us) by preying on their insecurities as acceptable applicants.
3. Who has an email address named xnvbx31130?
It’s common for Craigslist ads to have a nonsensical email address to contact, but a major red flag is when you receive an email from an address like this. They used to only sell Viagra, but now they sound like understanding landlords that sincerely want you to rent from them.
4. No address or picture in the ad.
So where is this gorgeous 3br/3ba? It’s a utopian no-place designed to make you act irrationally and live on a prayer. Do not fall for it, no matter how dazzling it is!
5. There is an address. It’s real! I saw it! I touched it!
Oh snap. These scammers are getting good. They’ve taken a real estate listing and plugged it into their ad. It’s almost impossible to tell with this tactic, especially when the price is commensurate with the product.
6. They want you to wire money to secure the rental.
Even if you have actually talked with someone, it’s not completely safe to transfer funds electronically. Usually property management companies will require you to pay your move in fees with secured funds in the form of a cashier’s check or money order. If the property management company is asking you to wire money, first check them out online and see if they’re a real company. Even when you’ve had a seemingly normal rapport with someone online about a rental, this can still be a scam.
Let the Renter Placement Team at Scout take the wheel. We are in the trenches every day so we can spot a scam and help you steer clear.