Rental housing on Vancouver Island is getting harder and harder to find as the housing crisis continues. Global News recently released a story of rental fraud in Victoria that highlights the abundance of rental scams that are happening in the area. Unfortunately, there are nefarious people looking to make money off desperate renters, and they’re getting creative. Used.ca is a great source of rental listings, and we have security features in place to help weed out fraudulent ads. Our moderation team works hard to prevent and remove any fraudulent ads, and our vigilant community of users are helpful in reporting them. Even so, with creative crooks, some ads make it through the cracks. We’ve made a guide to spotting rental scams to help renters spot a fake rental ad.
Warning signs for spotting rental scams:
- Landlords who ask for money before you see the property in person. Keep in mind, it has been reported in the news that some fraudsters will rent an Airbnb or short-term rental to use for “showings” with potential renters. It’s best to check the land title to see who actually owns the property
- Landlords that refuse to show the property in person or have excuses for why they can’t
- Photos of rental and description don’t add up. Search the address and check the street view to see if the building looks correct too
- Do a reverse Google Image search using the listing photos to see if they’ve been taken from elsewhere
- Prices that are well below the average market value in your area. If your gut says it’s too good to be true – sadly, it’s likely a scam
- Asking for personal or financial information above and beyond what landlords can legally ask for. Check your provincial laws about what landlords are allowed to ask you
- The area code for the landlord’s phone doesn’t match your local area codes
The Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre is a great resource for tenants seeking advice about rentals and landlords.
Most importantly, remember to trust your gut when searching for a rental. Do your research on any new property rental and landlords before sending any sort of payment or personal information. NEVER send money without viewing a property in person and even then, you have to ensure it is their property to rent.
Thank you for keeping our community safe.