Tip #139: Watch Your Back
If you use Craigslist for your rental ads, you will want to stay extra vigilant to avoid a wave a crime that can target landlords.
Be careful with any “applicant” who is from out of town or overseas and who wants to rent your property sight unseen. Criminals will send money to the landlord to secure the lease, and then a few days later write to say there is an emergency, and ask for the money back. This appears legitimate, but after you refund the money, the bank may discover that the funds were transferred fraudulently, and back the transaction out of your account, leaving you with an out-of-pocket loss.
Even if an applicant isn’t trying something that sinister, they may ask to transact with you electronically in order to avoid meeting in person. That’s a risky way to fill a vacancy. The better choice is to communicate over the phone and in person.
See last weeks Landlord Quick Tip.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.