Just because you offer corporate housing, it does not mean that you cannot fall victim to a property rental scam. There are several ways that owners can be “rooked” out of money, and it usually has to do with misrepresentation. This is one of the main reasons that we always advocate that property owners do their due diligence before allowing anyone to sign a lease and move in. One of the best resources for those who own corporate housing is a management company or firm that provides you with lots of resources for ensuring valid tenants.
However, misrepresentation is not the only sort of property rental scam. For instance, a few years ago we warned readers about a common corporate housing ploy that worked like this:
The renter applies in person and pays any deposits with a credit card. The card is declined and so the potential renter calls the bank and reads back an approval or authorization code that then allows the payment to go through. The tenant says they want to move into the furnished housing that day, and because the payment is in hand, it is allowed.
So, how is this a property rental scam?
The next day, the credit provider phones to say that the card is being used fraudulently and/or that the funds cannot be approved because the authorization code was invalid or fraudulent.
Is this still a problem? With corporate housing, it shouldn’t be. You should never process credit card payments in any way but the route you use for all other renters. Whether this means running a charge through your online system, manually entering it, or doing it another way, the point is to do it only that one way. Don’t accept alternative payments or wired payments if that’s not how you operate.
Again, you can see that it would be far easier to avoid a property rental scam by working with the help of a property management company, or by networking with fellow corporate rental property owners to discover how they do things. There are many ways that scammers operate, but if you create an effective method and use fraud-proof resources and tools (such as a dependable payment processor), you should be able to avoid most scams. Always do background checks on all renters, have a professionally written lease, and consult with a legal expert should issues arise. Do this, and your system should be scam-proof.
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