Steering Clear of Scammers While Seeking Houses to Rent in Pretoria
PUBLISHED 23 FEB 2021
Top Tips for Steering Clear of Scammers While Seeking Houses to Rent in Pretoria
These days, viewing a house you have your eye on is a breeze. Technology makes the process easy – a simple online search is enough for hundreds of available Pretoria houses to grace your computer screen; zero fuss, zero hassle. The danger in this convenience, however, is that criminal activity also becomes easier. While you may be thinking only fools give in to scams, the fact is that fraudsters are becoming more emotionally manipulative, knowing exactly how to get people to trust them. They are not disguised in a hoody and balaclava either – most look like respectable people who would never steal from anyone. To keep your wits about you and ensure you do not fall into a trap while looking for houses to rent, have a gander at some of our tips on avoiding scams.
Be Cautious When the Rent is Very Low
Pretoria has tons of great houses at affordable monthly rates. A superb home in a well-off area that seems ridiculously cost-friendly should set off alarm bells, though. Scammers will usually advertise a property to rent with captions, such as: “Don’t miss out on this great deal!”. This is an emotional manipulation tactic, as people often feel the need to jump at any opportunity to save money before it is lost. What is worse is that in their desperation to secure the rental, renters will pay upfront at the scammer’s request despite there being no evidence of any paperwork or legitimacy.
Fake Agents Are All Too Common
Not only do criminals pretend to be homeowners renting their property out, but they present as rental agents too. People are more inclined to trust someone who looks like a professional – especially when they talk the talk and have placed what seem to be real listings of Pretoria houses for rent. Because there are thousands of these search results, it is impossible to tell which is authentic and which is simply a ploy to scam you out of your money. It is, fortunately, possible to mitigate such a risk, but it does take a little homework. Firstly, you should always do your own background check to see if the agent is indeed whom they say they are. If any red flags are waving, feel free to ask the agent whether or not they have a Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC). Every rental agent is required to have one by law. Then, it is wise to ensure the agent is from a reputable sales and letting company by phoning the head office and asking them directly.
Do Not Accommodate Their Failures
When asked when and where to meet or whether or not you can see the contract, most scammers either disappear or come up with a whole host of excuses. A likeable and charming personality, valid justifications for being late, “misplacing” the contract, and even the appearance of victimhood are all manipulation tactics. Polite prospective tenants, tired of sifting through available houses in Pretoria may give in and hand over cash without thinking it through.
The Deposit Seems a Little Excessive
It is common practice to pay a deposit of one to two months’ worth of rent, but keep in mind that a very high deposit may signal a scam. Even if you have viewed the Pretoria property and signed a contract (fraudsters are resourceful enough to pull this off), a landlord or agent that is pressuring you to pay a large sum upfront is suspicious. Sometimes, people fall for this trap because the price seems very reasonable and they do not mind paying the deposit to prove they are interested.
For fraud-free, reliable services and a process you can trust, our agency is here to help. Whether you are seeking flats, office spaces, or houses to rent in Pretoria, our agents will not let you down.