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.

Property Spotlight: A Shining Beacon in Maine Corporate Housing

A Shining Beacon in Maine Corporate Housing

Today’s spotlight furnished rental is the very definition of tranquility and relaxation. This lovingly preserved, multi-tier gabled colonial farmhouse sits amidst a sea of green fields, apple trees, and horse pastures in rural Durham, Maine. This gorgeous pastoral country is the setting for this classic 1830’s three-bedroom, two bath farm home, CHBO Certified and ready for your corporate retreat or extended stay.

Just listen to this happy client: “Pictures, reviews and ratings, all wonderful, do the Thanksgiving Farm an injustice. The place and people scored off the charts for us!!! We can’t recommend it highly enough. Thanks!” Galen, October 2017

The Economy Here is More than “Maine-ly” Lobster

Maine Lobsters are the world’s most famous crustacean and a luxury food that’s made the state’s seafood producers famous. Up on land, poultry, eggs, cattle and potatoes star, but it’s manufacturing of health care products and paper and wood products that drives this economy the most. Health care is highlighted by Maine Medical, Mercy, Mid Coast Regional, Central Maine Medical, and St. Mary’s Regional Hospital. A few major firms call Maine home: Fairchild Semiconductor, IDEXX Laboratories, and outdoor clothing retailer L.L. Bean. Portland, just thirty minutes from this idyllic farmhouse, is growth-focused and supports a strong business culture of small to mid-size companies. The downtown district in Portland, and the Old Port historical area, provides many business opportunities for residents and visitors. The Jackson Laboratory, is the world’s largest mammalian genetic research facility, and calls Maine home. This could be due to the ample number of higher learning institutions like Bowdoin, Bates, Colby, the University of Maine, and the University of New England.

See Rural “Nor-Easter” Charm from this Maine Short-Term Rental

You’ll enjoy the calm and tranquility of home here, and when its time to get out and see more this state, Portland is a great place to explore. Breweries like The Maine Brew Bus, Shipyard Brewery, and Allagash Brewery provide suds to go with surf. Shore access means fishing charters, paddle boarding, and cycling along the coast. Commercial Street, Congress Street, and Market Street are replete with waterfront shops and cafes to peruse. Art lovers can visit the Portland Museum of Art, sports fans can catch minor league baseball at Hadlock Stadium, home of the Double-A Sea Dogs, a Red Sox affiliate.

corporate housing society

If You are Fishing for Luxury Corporate Rentals in Maine, You Caught a Beauty

We were very excited to find a house which seemed very nice on a horse farm…When we arrived, we were very happy to see that the house was even better than the photos….it is obvious that the owners have put a great deal of time and effort into restoring this beautiful property. We were even more impressed by how kind and friendly the owners are….”

The reviews say it all. This beautifully preserved and maintained classic 1830’s farmhouse with modern upgrades located on a horse farm with three Icelandic horses cared for by the owners. It’s CHBO Certified, so you know it’s fully furnished and appointed with top-end furnishings so all you need to do is pull in to the two-car attached garage and come in via the mudroom, put down your luggage and feel at home.

It was comfortable and spotless, all the comforts of an inviting home. The setting is beautiful – apple trees and horses and wide-open fields. We only wished we were there longer.”

corporate housing society

Enjoy a sunny eat-in kitchen with spacious central island and farmhouse sink, a washer and dryer alcove, Hearthstone wood stove and bucolic views of the courtyard and verdant gardens, pastures and stone walls. The cozy living room features a fireplace and baby grand piano. A dinner party is a must here with an elegant dining room seating up to eight lucky guests. Upstairs, three spacious bedrooms await, sleeping up to six. The master bedroom suite includes a king bed, there’s a garden view bedroom with a queen bed, while the third bedroom has two twin beds perfect for the kids, or could easily serve as an in-house office thanks to a desk and a gas stove. Bathrooms on both floors here include heated tile floors, large custom shower and a double faucet farm sink.

“The house was great and even better than expected, very clean with everything you could ever need, especially if you expect to cook. Barbara and Jim also gave us great recommendations on what to see and where to eat in the area. We even got some nice recipes and got to pick some apples from the tree in the back. The horses were amazing to see in-person and Barbara will teach you all about them if you have any questions (like we did). They’re very well behaved and we even got to pet them! Overall it was an amazing stay and we’ll be sure to come back if we’re ever in the area!”

corporate housing society

The owners, Barbara and Jim, live on the neighboring property. Maine Corporate Housing doesn’t get better than this. Be sure to call them at +1 (207) 650-3169 today before your miss your chance to relax at this beautiful farm house during your stay in Maine!

Three Ways to Prepare Your Short Term Rental for Severe Weather

Save Download Preview flooding houses with rising water

Weather can be unpredictable. Recent hurricanes and flood events in the Caribbean, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas have shown that, as did the tragic fires in Northern California. Your corporate rental is a major investment that you want to protect. Having homeowners insurance should be a given, as well as flood insurance in low-lying areas requiring you to be covered. Beyond insurance there are other ways you can not only prepare your home but also protect yourself from income lost to severe weather that prevents a tenant’s stay. Here are three ways you can prepare your short-term rental for severe weather.

A meteorologist displaying hurricane supplies

Supply “Must Have” Items in Your Corporate Housing

Just like you would in your own home, provide basic emergency supplies for corporate tenants. Bottled water, canned food, a first-aid kit, a hand-crank radio, flashlights, and an emergency kit are important to have on hand. Secure these items in a cabinet with a combination lock. When extreme weather occurs, provide your tenants with the combination. Finally, be sure your home is well maintained both inside and out. If high winds, heavy rain or snow strike, be sure your home is up to the challenge.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Offer Travel Protection Insurance for Hurricane Rentals

In some states where vacation rentals are more common, if you do not offer your tenants a travel insurance option, and a mandatory evacuation prevents a stay, you must refund them. However, if you offer them insurance, no refund is required. In other states, no refund is required unless your lease agreement covers it. You’ll need to know the laws regarding severe weather refunds in your state and municipality, run it by the attorney drawing up your standard lease contract.

This is distinct from a security deposit because it is different than “tenant caused” damages. CHBO’s covers you in case of tenant accidental damage, a cost that can be passed on the tenant in lieu of a security deposit.

Car covered with Ice

Add a Severe Weather Clause to Your Lease Agreement

In the case of a mandatory evacuation, you could offer a refund or a rebooking at a discount. But you need clear language that only mandatory evacuations apply; guests who are simply disappointed because rain is predicted can’t get a refund, as the home is still usable.

In the case of mandatory evacuations, you could issue a refund in advance when government authorities declare the evacuation, or if the stay is in progress, partially refund for unused days, or credit guests for a future stay.

Again, be clear that this applies only in the case that your property cannot be used due to evacuation. This happens most often with severe storms or hurricane rentals, where there are a few days of advanced notice. If roads are icy but not closed, for example, this doesn’t mean a refund as your short-term rental itself is still usable and the tenant should use chains or winter tires with four-wheel drive.

You may not be able to predict when and where severe weather strikes. You can, however, prepare your corporate rental for hurricanes and your lease as best you can so that when bad weather strikes you are ready.