Rent Sense: Renters Beware

August 24, 2012by melissad

By Neil Fjellestad & Chris De Marco

You’re calling off a For Rent sign or responding to a rental ad but do you know the person or company offering the rental home? We are alarmed that avoidable scams continue to hurt rent consumers. Sixty-eight percent of existing and potential renters we surveyed indicated that they prefer renting from a property management company because they can check on the internet or with the BBB to verify their standing in the business community.

Here are additional tips:

• If the “owner” is willing to rent out their home at a price that’s extremely low for the market, ask why. This might seem like a great deal but you need to verify all parties to this transaction.
• The “owner” is willing to rent based on your word and a few unverifiable references as opposed to standard rental application qualifications. Again, this might seem like a lucky break for you but verify all parties.
• Even though there might be a legitimate “urgency to act now” felt by all parties there is still time to complete the transaction properly.
• Every rental (real estate) transaction is subject to local, state and federal housing regulations.
• Consider using a real estate professional who is knowledgeable about rental transactions as opposed to an independent owner.
• Real estate professionals must be licensed with California’s DRE to transact leasing documents and collect rents.
• A rental agreement longer than 30 days must be in writing and should be on a standard form with terms that are compliant with California landlord-tenant law.

Read the lease carefully and ask questions.

Promote housing opportunities for all persons regardless of race, religion, sex, marital status, ancestry, national origin, color, familial status, or disability (Government Code Section 65583(c)(5)).

San Diego Metro Office
6398 Del Cerro Blvd., Ste 8.
San Diego, CA 92120
(619) 286-7600

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