How does a potential tenant know if the property they are about to rent is legitimate? Each week veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals. Here is this week’s question:

Dear Landlord Hank:

I’m not sure if the property that my husband and I are about to rent is legitimate. I need help from someone who knows what’s what.

-Camille

Dear Camille,

The fact that you are asking makes me think your common sense radar is picking up deceit on part of person trying to rent out property you are considering.

I hope you have been inside the property. And that you have a lease, have been offered keys to the property? I have seen that the property is in good rentable condition?

I would ask the person renting the property to provide proof they own it or are authorized to lease it.

The owner will have a copy of the deed, utility bills in his name, and be well informed about the property.

You could also knock on neighbors’ doors and ask them who owns the house and any history regarding the property.

If you aren’t 100% satisfied that the person trying to rent this property is not truly the owner or authorized to do so, then walk away from this deal and find another place.

Scammers make the rent deal look good

Scammers make the deal seem amazingly good and it’s usually too good to be true.

Don’t be taken advantage of.

If a Realtor is involved they can always check tax records on the property via the internet.

You could also go to the court house and check for yourself as these are public records.

Good luck!!

Read Hank’s related post on this topic: Out-Of-Town Landlord Asking For Security Deposit Then Will Mail Keys – Is This Normal?

About the author:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta.“ Visit Hank’s website here.