When a property manager or landlord advertises a vacancy, and accepts applications and application fees, without any intent of filling the vacancy.The concept of Landlord Fraud is absurd. Who would do such a thing?
Well, there isn't any data that can tell us how often this happens, yet it happens.
When the national average application fee is $40, a dishonest landlord can make some quick cash by just placing a FOR RENT sign out in front of his property.
Consider high-demand locations like California's Bay Area as a worst-case example. Landlords there can raise as much as $10,000 over a weekend in application fees for a $3,000/month rental. We've posted on this before.
Victims of Landlord Fraud will be told they didn't pass the background screening, or that another applicant beat them to the unit. Or maybe they just don't get a call back. Who follows up on this?
Landlord Fraud is easy, yet surprisingly some can't pull it off. Just this week we learned that Rashawn Jones, posing as a landlord here in Cincinnati, engaged in Landlord Fraud. His mistake: he gave the applicants move-in dates.
When each victim [applicant] replied, Jones met them, provided a lease agreement, took applications and fees, security deposits and gave them dates to move in.There is only one way to protect oneself from Landlord Fraud: Pay an intermediary service your application fee to eliminate any financial incentive.
Here is a current list of America's Apply-Online services who fully protect against Landlord Fraud:
Hat tip: Pat S.