How to Avoid Rental Scams in Your Furnished Housing Properties

corporate housing scams

No one likes admitting when they have been scammed, and even more so when that scam has led to serious financial losses. Rental scams are the worst of these scenarios because there are so many ways that you might avoid them. Yet, when an individual or even an organization does manage to obtain furnished housing rentals from you, and then proves to be a scam, you might wish to pretend it never happened and move on. Is that a good idea? In a word: No. Instead, it’s a great idea to share details about any rental scams with others, and help improve the whole furnished housing industry for the many investors out there.

Below are some of our biggest tips for identifying rental scams and avoiding the culprits. We share them because we have experienced many ourselves, as you can read about in this previous article, and others.

Corporate Housing Scams

Red Flags

Here are the biggest and easiest to spot of the proverbial “red flags” that indicate your furnished housing is being targeted by a scammer:

They don’t complete the rental application – No blanks allowed should be your new motto. And even if the “name” given is a corporation, don’t just accept it. Do the research and find out all that you can, including full details about the individual actually seeking their “corporate” housing. This also applies if someone refuses to submit the rental credit application. It could be that they have a history of scams, really horrible credit or are unable to actually afford the rental. If someone refuses the credit check…refuse the application.

Incomplete data – The forms may seem to be complete, but don’t overlook a very common scam, which is to leave numbers (social security, credit card and phone numbers to be precise) incomplete. You can also ask for copies of documents like a driver’s license if you fear that an identity might not be all that authentic.

They’re in a hurry – They want that property of yours and they want it yesterday! This is one of the best types of rental scams because it forces you to rush into the deal, and these are often deals that end up costing you. Take your time, no matter what amount is at stake.

Differing stories – Have you gotten mixed messages from someone or some firm seeking your furnished housing? Maybe one person has spoken with you and someone who helps you at your business? Maybe you’ve gotten someone who wants nothing on paper or written down (i.e. all kinds of verbal agreements)? Maybe they tell you one thing during their first call and something else during another? If a story changes, even a little, it is probably scam related.

Cash offers – Finally, we once covered the issue of cash offers as rental scams. This too is a major red flag to be avoided.

Now you have some of our most recognizable scams and can dodge the worst offenders out there.

The Impact of Lighting on Your Corporate Rentals

Lights in corporate housing

Though we supply lots of rental apartment tips for our corporate rentals clients at CHBO, we want to address the matter of lighting in this article. It is far more vital to the success of your corporate rentals than you might realize, and this is true of the images you supply as well as the actual spaces themselves. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the most potent home and rental apartment tips where lighting is concerned.

Before we do, just a quick word about the significance of proper and quality lighting in corporate rentals, because many don’t realize what lighting says about the space. To prove that point, we’ll share a brief tale from someone who found their extended stay lighting confusing and unsatisfactory, leading them to leave a negative review and discourage others from using the same provider.

Essentially, it boiled down to this: The corporate traveler was going to spend three weeks in an extended stay property. Given a key card upon arrival, they entered the unit and found light switches that did not work. They stumbled around in the dark, but no luck. They then asked a maintenance person in a nearby hall about it and discovered an odd fixture by the door that required the key card to be kept in place if the lights were to work! Obviously, this sort of controlled lighting saved the property owner a lot on wasted energy, but was a huge hassle for the renter and one of the main reasons for this to appear in our list of top rental apartment tips.

So, rule one about corporate rentals and lighting is this: Make it simple and easy to use!

Vintage Electric Lights in corporate rental

Other Rental Apartment Tips for Lighting

To ensure your corporate rentals do have the best lighting, we can look at suggestions from experts, including professional interior designers. They know all of the best methods for turning even darker corners into perfectly lit, appealing spaces. Of course, they have their own rules, and we are going to use them for our home and rental apartment tips, too.

  • Start with the purpose of the lighting – Your primary focus should not be “hey that lamp looks cool” but instead “how is this fixture going to direct light” and deciding whether or not it can meet the needs of that specific spot. As an example, a pendant light above a work space looks good and lights well.
  • Think in layers – In a previous story about lighting for corporate rentals, the author reminded readers that “a great lighting scheme is a layered affair…thinking about the different qualities of light…the type of light you want…[and] where and how you want to focus that light.” In other words, the light bulbs first and then the fixtures to aim that light.
  • Think from the top down – One of the best lighting for home and rental apartment tips available is to consider your lighting scenarios from the top down. As one expert noted, “Overhead fixtures exist to provide general or ambient lighting that covers the room,” but can be called upon to actually define or create a space. As an example, an overhead fixture in a dining room creates a light that is entirely different than an overhead fixture in the kitchen.

The point is to think about that layered use of lighting and how to generate what you require with the bulbs and fixtures available. For instance, recessed lighting in a kitchen can be coupled with hanging fixtures for more intense, “spot” lighting in work areas. And bulbs can always be chosen to ensure the best results.

Dining rooms are ideal spaces for smaller, pendant lights that give a more “sprayed” array of controllable lighting as well as small table lamps on the sideboard and accent lighting on the walls.

Bathroom lighting is also going to benefit from the layering and top down approach where corporate rentals are concerned. You always need strong light in the vanity areas, making pendants a nice option. However, one of the key home and rental apartment tips for bathroom lighting is to opt for controllable lighting such as fixtures with dimmers, and even LED lighting (including “rope” lighting) for more muted effects.

Bedrooms always benefit from layered lighting, and may not be well suited to overhead fixtures. Instead, you may want to use an array of shaded table and floor lamps along with wall-mounted pendants to create pools of light and create a low-key mood in any sleeping space.

  • Living rooms are different – In your corporate rentals, your living or family room lighting scenarios need to be flexible and functional. After all, this is a room where you might play board games, watch TV, socialize or relax with a good book. That is why experts say that some of the best home and rental apartment tips for living room lighting include the use of recessed halogen and spot lighting layered with floor and table lamps and even track lighting.
  • Affordable options- A final tip for corporate rentals is to start off by adding fixtures with dimmers to every space. This lets you slowly design and implement the ideal lighting schemes without also breaking your budget. As one expert said, dimmers “allow you to transition from ambient to task to accent lighting with the slide of a switch”.

Hopefully these simple home and rental apartment tips for optimal lighting can help you to make your properties home-like and functional spaces that also run as cost effective solutions for all.

Is It Fully Furnished Apartments or Short Term Apartment Rentals for You?

Short Term Apartment Rentals

Anyone who has to consider corporate housing eventually runs into the question of fully furnished apartments versus short term apartment rentals. They sound the same but are not often all that similar, and if you’re in the market for a lucrative real estate investment, you have to determine which is the right one for your goals.

To figure out whether you should be sinking available capital into one or the other, look at the following questions:

Where?

Short Term Apartment Rentals

If your goal is to provide corporate housing, but you are torn between fully furnished apartments and short term apartment rentals, you have to start with the location.

While both fully furnished apartments and short term apartments are likely to attract attention, look at the market in your area now, see its level of competition and determine if you might gain an advantage offering one type over the other.

Savings?

While a fully furnished apartment seems like the ideal investment, saving you lots of up front expenses, will it? Look at that furniture and the appliances. Are they a draw or will they scare away renters due to poor conditions or plain unattractiveness.

Management?

Lastly, if you have no significant time to dedicate to the venture, the short term rentals actually make more sense. You have less frequent turnover as short-term renters typically stay longer than corporate clients on visits to fully furnished spaces.

Of course, any area in need of corporate rentals poses a good market for investment in real estate, and both models may work well for you!