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Vacation Rental Scams

HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer

Monday, July 20, 2015



Vacation Rental Scams
Vacation Home Rental

Seeking more space more amenities and better rates than hotels/motels offer, many people are turning to houses and condominiums for vacation rental. Ever-resourceful scam artists have refined vacation rental scamming to a high art. Consequently, you should take great care when renting a property for your vacation, taking some steps to ensure that you avoid such scams.

First, ensure that the property actually exists, because some scammers rent nonexistent houses/condos to unsuspecting consumers who pay their money and later find the houses/condos don’t exist. If possible, check out the property yourself or have a local person check it out. If that’s not possible, use an online search engine’s maps to get aerial and street views of the property.

Second, ensure that the property is being rented, because scammers will sometimes pretend that property is for rent while the actual owner has no intention of renting it. Copy and paste sections of the property description in a search engine too see if the description has been copied from another source.

Third, ensure that the individual or supposed rental company listing the property is legitimate by checking with the Better Business Bureau or the property’s local chamber of commerce or by doing an online search of the owner, agent and property listing. Rent the property only through legitimate realtors, agencies or rental sites, which can be found at VRBO.com and AirBNB.com.

Fourth, reject any individual or company insisting that you wire money; use your credit card or PayPal, which provide processes for contesting any disputed charge.

Fifth, reject any individual or company demanding payment before you have signed an agreement.

Sixth, avoid any individual who is “out of the country,” working through an “agent” and wants you to send money overseas.

Seventh, if you’re dealing with the owner, ask for proof of ownership and his/her identification, then cross-check that information online with the county recorder of deeds and/or the assessor’s office.

Eighth, if you’re dealing with a manager/agent, ask for proof that he/she has the authority to sign on the owner’s behalf and double-check that information with the property owner.

Ninth, if you’re dealing with a real estate agent, check him/her out with the Association of Real Estate License officials or his/her state licensing board online.

Tenth, report any scams to your local law enforcement, the web site on which any related ad was posted, and the FTC here: FTC Complaints - Get Started

DO’S AND DON’TS

DO ensure that the property actually exists.

DO ensure that the property is being rented.

DO ensure that the individual or supposed rental company listing the property is legitimate.

DON’T deal with any individual or company insisting that you wire money.

DON’T deal with any individual or company demanding payment before you have signed an agreement.

DON’T deal with any individual who is “out of the country,” working through an “agent” and wants you to send money overseas.

DO request and check proof of ownership and personal identification if dealing with the property owner.

DO request and check proof that any manager/agent is authorized to sign on the property owner’s behalf.

DO check out any real estate agent through the Association of Real Estate License officials or his/her state licensing board online.

DO report any scams to your local law enforcement, the web site on which any related ad was posted, and the FTC here: FTC Complaints - Get Started

By Kathy Catanzarite


Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Handelonthelaw.com Staff Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.





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