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  #1  
Old 06 September 2018, 04:43 PM
E. Q. Taft's Avatar
E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
 
Join Date: 30 July 2003
Location: San Diego, CA
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Default Looking for a new residence, and Craigslist scams

So, last weekend, got notice that all my housemates and I have to move out by September 30. I'm hoping this will, in the long run, be a good thing, in that I might be able to get myself in a situation with more privacy/fewer limitations on some of my activities, even though it will undoubtedly cost more money (and almost as undoubtedly give me a longer commute).

It only took a few days of searching to discover what is currently the favored Craigslist rental property scam. Last time I moved, about six years ago, the prevalent scam was insisting that you submit to (and pay for) a credit check before they would tell you where the rental property was. The excuse was that they didn't want people coming by to bother the current tenants or neighbors until they were sure they were serious candidates for the rental. It was pretty transparent that this was a ruse, however, since when I would explain that I didn't necessarily need the exact address, but (as I relied on mass transit at the time) I did need at least an approximate location -- say, the nearest major intersection -- before I would even consider the place, they wouldn't supply it. I strongly suspect they weren't even in town and couldn't be bothered to give even a fake location. I don't know if they were trying to get personal information for illicit use, or if they were just trying to get people to pay unnecessary credit check fees, but I got really sick of it (as the properties advertised were inevitably the ones that sounded the most attractive in terms of amenities and rent).

This time, the scam is more personalized and direct. They offer a nice sounding apartment -- furnished, yet -- at an attractive rent, with no credit check needed. When you inquire, the scam is that the offer purports to come from someone who has had to leave town for an extended period and needs to sub-let; they claim to be more concerned with someone who will take good care of the property than getting the best rent. So, all you need to do is send the first month's rent and security deposit, and they'll send you the keys by express post!

They do supply the actual property address -- I don't know if they pick them at random, or what.

I started to negotiate with someone the first time it happened, but as soon as I got a much-too-similar email about a second property, I dropped it. (They make sure to put information in their explanation that seems designed to make you feel guilty for questioning their story: in one case, they guy claims to be a Christian missionary -- even providing a link the website of the organization he claims to be working with; in the other, the person mentioned having a disability.)

God, I hate these people. It's hard enough to try to find a new place to live in a hurry, for a price I can afford, without having to sort through this crap.
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Old 06 September 2018, 05:11 PM
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Sue Sue is offline
 
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Maybe this is a stupid question (or a stunningly obvious one anyway) but are there alternatives to Craigslist? Places where the ads are vetted better? I guess mostly those places listed with reputable realtors or property management places tend to be a little more expensive but I think if there is so much scamming going around that might be the way I'd choose to go.
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Old 06 September 2018, 06:19 PM
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crocoduck_hunter crocoduck_hunter is offline
 
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I don't know how it is in San Diego, but when I was looking for a place to rent here in Roseburg, going though the property management companies was a very slow process: I actually received callbacks from multiple places three months after I'd found an apartment. It was not something to do if you needed a place to live immediately.
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Old 06 September 2018, 06:50 PM
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The times we've rented we've done it through real estate agents but prices for rentals in Ottawa now are just crazy. Especially for houses but apartments aren't much better and pretty much if you go through a realtor you can guarantee you're renting the more expensive properties. Still the listings I see elsewhere don't seem to be that much less. I don't know how people can afford these prices .
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Old 06 September 2018, 06:53 PM
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I'm going through the same thing. Unfortunately some of the most affordable places are through Craigslist and nowhere else. There are lots of different scams.

I think the same scam E. Q. Taft refers to takes a real (current or expired) rental or sale listing and copies it to Craigslist at a ridiculously low rental rate. I'm sure they get a lot of nibbles. Other scams include bait and switch - even done by legit brokers. They say the advertised place is no longer available, or had the location listed incorrectly by mistake, and then the same ad goes up again days later..
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Old 06 September 2018, 08:29 PM
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E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
 
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The other one I'm seeing a lot of is the "lease to own" offer. This is a genuine option for people with poor credit and no down payment to get into homes, but my reading indicates that you would normally expect rents to be higher (since some of what you're paying goes towards the purchase price). I'm seeing quite a few advertised for what seem like ridiculously low amounts ($500-$800 for a 3-bedroom house). There may be something genuine going on, but the one website I tried going to diverted me to a credit-repair service.
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Old 06 September 2018, 11:09 PM
Ellestar Ellestar is offline
 
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San Diego is pretty big. Is there an apartment-finding service available? When I lived in Chicago, I found both of my apartments through Apartment People. It was free to the renter and you could be very specific about which neighborhoods you want and your price range. Both times I used it, I usually signed a lease within a week of looking at the apartments.

A preliminary google search shows Padfinder San Diego might be a possibility? It's not the same as the Apartment People, but it looks more legit than Craigslist.
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Old 07 September 2018, 05:52 AM
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Esprise Me Esprise Me is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
Other scams include bait and switch - even done by legit brokers. They say the advertised place is no longer available, or had the location listed incorrectly by mistake, and then the same ad goes up again days later..
I encountered this a few years ago; the complex advertised a unit for $x/month, then told me when I got there that the unit at that price had just been rented, but they had half a dozen identical units for exactly $x+100. Oh, except the thing about parking being included was a mistake; that would be another $100/month. Oh and yes, like the ad said, pets were welcome with a $500 deposit, oh but did we forget to mention there was also a $50/ month pet rent? Oh and you didn't need a fridge, right? No worries, we'll rent you the only model that fits in this narrow space for just $50/month...

I wish you luck, E.Q. Taft. It's not a fun process.
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Old 11 September 2018, 03:25 PM
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DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
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E.Q. Taft, are you part of Nextdoor?

I always see people either looking for rooms to rent or offering rooms for rent.

Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 11 September 2018, 06:02 PM
E. Q. Taft's Avatar
E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
 
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Never heard of it. Normally not the sort of thing I'd be interested in, as I tend not to be much of a "neighborhood" person. But for these purposes, it could be useful - thanks.
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Old 11 September 2018, 10:48 PM
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Cervus Cervus is offline
 
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FYI, I got an invite from my HOA to join NextDoor and I quickly deleted my account because I didn't want my real name and address being visible to everyone. I'm not sure what I was expecting, maybe a BB or message board group, but there was nothing really private about it; I could see all postings for neighborhoods in a 5 mile radius, not just my HOA. There was also no verification requirement like they claim. So, be wary about privacy on there.

Last edited by Cervus; 11 September 2018 at 11:03 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12 September 2018, 02:25 AM
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erwins erwins is offline
 
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The verification may have been that you were invited through your HOA. When SO joined, at least, she had to wait for a post card or something that was mailed to our address to verify.
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