A Warning About Renting Privately

Below is an interesting story from one of our clients – a warning to all renters about renting a place privately and not using a real estate agent.

Today Mrs and I went to see a place at XXX Gerrard St. We saw the ad on craigslist and thought it’s a pretty good deal. Called the guy up, he said his name is Mr X. and he’ll show us the place. We were there a bit early so just waiting for him outside, while waiting, a dude walking passed by us then turned back and asked if this is No. XXX. I told him yes and he said he’s here for a viewing too and also waiting for Mr X. I thought ‘what the heck?’, ok that’s weird but I guess Mr X. has the right to schedule it like an open house type viewing.

Once he arrived, he presented himself as property management agent with a business card and showed us the place. But he seems unprofessional – like when I asked him is all utilities included and he replied “oh if the ad say yes then yeah I’m sure it is.” He also said the owner of the place is the owner of the Pickle Barrel. He then explained to us (and the other guy at the viewing) that if we fill out the application and put down a $500 deposit, he’ll stop all remaining viewings that’re scheduled. At that point Mrs and I still didn’t think anything is wrong, but regret that we didn’t bring a cheque book because clearly the other guy is expressing interest too. Mr X. handed me an application form but then told the guy that was his last one in his briefcase, and said that he’ll email him one within 20min. The guy seems slightly disappointed but didn’t object, and he said ‘ok I’ll wait for it’, then left the place.  At this point, Mrs said to me she likes the place and I should go to a nearby bank and get the $$ before the other guy comes back.

So I went out to get the $$ and Mrs stayed behind thinking she can talk to Mr X. and get some more info. They almost had us. But luckily Mrs has way more street smart than me. She started to grow suspicious from the way Mr X. is acting – he’s getting ‘phone calls’ of more people inquiring about the place, and doesn’t know the market value of similar apartments. So she got on her cell phone and google his name and his company. – “Mr X.” and “XXXX Homes”.  All the red flag shows up in the search result on THE FIRST PAGE!!  People are reporting that this is a scamming duo with a ‘second guy’ usually waiting outside in the car. Mrs went to the balcony and look at Mr X’s parked car outside and lo and behold there’s a second guy sitting low hiding in the car looking at her direction!!  At this point Mr X. seems to realized Mrs had found out about the scam, so he keeps following her asking about her background, but she played it cool and just give him BS story.

She pretty much got out of there right away after that, and waited outside for me. When I got back, she quietly told me it’s a scam without much explanation (because he’s standing not too far away). We just told  him we changed our mind and left.  While driving away I saw a big second dude hop out of Mr X’s car, and we didn’t look back.

The end. lol.