Don’t Get Ripped Off By A Fake Landlord

Real Estate Agent with Benchmark Realty LLC, Nashville TN 615.516.5233 TN 221117, 299512

Scams are all around us, and one of the more distressing for a lot of consumers and Realtors these days is the con artist who spots a vacant listing which is for sale, runs a ‘for rent’ ad with extremely cheap rent, then disappears when he/she gets the deposit
and first month’s rent from the unsuspecting renter. 

One version of the scam is to have the money wired or mailed to the ‘landlord.’ And that’s the last you hear of the ‘landlord.’


Lately the con artists have gotten bolder; they actually meet the potential renter at the house, where they have taken off the lock and re-keyed the house.  

Sometimes they meet at another location, collect the money from the renter, and then give them a key which does not work. The renters find this out once they have gone to the house and try the key. 

One owner went to his house which was for sale, and found people living in his property. They had been conned, and had to move.   

One problem for renters is that rental properties are scarce.  Everybody wants a good deal. But these deals only take your hard earned money and give you nothing. 

Here are a few ways to protect yourself. 

1.       If you are wary, say that you will meet the ‘landlord’ at a police station.  Police stations are public places, and there are usually cameras.

2.      Ask for a business card. Ask for company phone number, email address, etc.  Of course, these can be faked, but you are making them give YOU information rather than just giving information about you to them.

3.      Realize that most legitimate rental agencies require background and credit checks, and if your contact just wants quick money ‘with no credit check,’ something could be fishy.

4.      Some property owners DO have property managers, so you can question them about how long they have known the owner, how long the owner has owned the property, how long they lived in the town…any other questions that you think of. Be extremely curious. A legitimate landlord won’t mind questions.


5.      Online is a convenient way to do business, but it is also so easy to get taken online. The best way to get a rental is to apply at an apartment complex, ask a Realtor for listings in MLS, or go directly to property managers. 

Posted by

Sarah & John Rummage, Realtors®
Sarah Direct: 615-516-5233
John Direct:  615-945-1838

2500 - 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37212
Office: 615.432.2919 

 Email me to receive a current list of any type property in the Middle Tennessee area. Write a short message about what type property you are looking for (for instance, 'condo downtown,' 'single family home in Belle Meade,' etc). 

Sarah is your Nashville, Middle Tennessee, USA, realty specialist. She specializes in executive homes. Also, seniors' downsizing, foreclosures, bank REO & Fannie Mae properties, investor buying and selling.  


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Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Everything and Everybody needs to do their due diligence now a day. 

Mar 28, 2015 07:36 AM #1
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
Realty National - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Sarah & John Rummage What an informative blog report. I believe as real estate agents, we can do a great deal to help reduce these scams from ever succeeding. When encountering a rental prospect, we all need to offer to check on the title of the home for free. Thanks!

Mar 28, 2015 07:39 AM #2
Bob Publicover
Publicover Realty Group, inc - Stuart, FL
Thinking outside the box

Sara and John, This scam is becoming a serious issue all over. I personally don't know of anyone who has been a victim but I read about it in the newspaper all the time. 

Mar 28, 2015 11:02 AM #3
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Sarah & John - Sad to hear that so many people are taken advantage of. Like you said, one must ask a lot of questions, and if they don't perform a credit check, don't meet at the house, and just want to get paid, be very leery.

Mar 29, 2015 02:54 PM #4
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