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.