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Rental Fraud

Rental fraud and scams are real and can affect our students personal, financial, and academic wellness.

Cases of rental fraud can increase at the end of semesters, when students are subletting or planning their accommodations for the next year.

Related information: 

Tips to Prevent Rental Fraud

Follow these tips to avoid being a victim of rental scams and be sure to use the information below if you have

General things to consider: 

  • Is the deal too good to be true?
  • Is it drastically higher or lower than the average rental price?
  • Go to the address or use the Street View feature of Google Maps to confirm the location.
  • Is there any urgency or pressure to get the deal done quickly?
  • Have you been asked to transfer money before a viewing (viewing deposit) or through an internet or wire transfer? 

There are two main types of rental fraud scams: fraudulent renters looking for property to rent and fraudulent properties for rent. 

Fraudulent Renters Looking for Property to Rent

Fraudulent renters are people who claim to want to rent an apartment or room but actually don't intend to live there. They will send you a fraudulent overpayment (too much money) to cover the rent, then ask you to send the extra money back to them.

How to Avoid This Kind of Scam

  • Check the facts and verify personal information.
  • If the person lives out of country and wants to rent, do not provide your banking information. Have them send you money by e-transfer to an email address specifically designated for such transactions. Do not link to your personal email address.
  • Never return funds that are part of the overpayment. Suggest that the extra funds be applied to the next month's rent.

Fraudulent Properties for Rent

Fraudulent apartments or rooms for rent are often advertised in preferred locations, such as close to the university. The person advertising the property may request that you fill out a questionnaire, which asks for your personal information and banking information. Be cautious about giving out your personal and banking information; it can be used for identity fraud.

Once you accept the offer to rent the property, the person will ask you to send them rent money, often first and last month's rent. Then, when you arrive at the designated time and location to pick up your keys, you will discover that the property doesn't actually exist, or that you have been misled and you don't have a place to live.

How to Identify a Fraudulent Property

  • Does the deal seem too good to be true? If so, it could be a scam.
  • Have you done research to verify that the property exists? 
  • Is the person renting the property pressuring you to sign a contract or to get the deal done quickly?
  • Is the person renting the property not answering your questions?

How to Avoid this Type of Scam

  • If possible, go to the address, or have someone go to the address for you. Schedule a viewing and confirm that the apartment or room is available.
  • Review the rental contract thoroughly. You should not feel pressured or that you have to rush.
  • Do research to learn what a reasonable amount of rent is.
  • Go with your instincts! If something doesn't feel right about the rental posting or the person you're contacting, then look for a different property.

What to Do If You are a Victim of Rental Fraud

If you have been a victim of a rental scam, gather all documents and communications between the individual and yourself and be sure to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, your financial banking service, and the platform that you encountered the scam for assistance. 

Additional Resources

If you have any questions about a rental property or renter, and you aren't sure if it's fraudulent, connect with the following areas: 

Off-Campus Housing

Laurier International

Special Constables

  • Waterloo: 232 King St. North, 519.885.3333
  • Brantford: 45 Market Street, 519.770.3778 
  • You can reach the Special Constables in Waterloo and Brantford from an internal phone at Laurier by dialling extension 3333.

Police Services

  • Waterloo Regional Police Service: 519.570.9777
  • Brantford Police Service: 519.756.0113 or 519.756.7050
  • Milton (Halton) Police Service: 905.825.4777
  • For emergencies, always dial 911.