Perth agents warn/scare tenants against do-it-yourself landlords regarding rental scams
Scammers are again targeting Perth rental enquiries, with genuine listings being misappropriated to obtain tenant applicants’ personal identification details.
The scam originally targeted overseas students but with the tight rental market, Western Australians desperate for accommodation are now being caught out, the WA Department of Commerce’s Consumer Protection advises.
The rental listings of the big WA real estate agencies are being targeted, with the rental property listings being illegally copied and uploaded onto free classified advertising websites.
Prospective tenants who enquire about the offering are asked to provide details for a personal identification check, after which their identities are stolen, Realmark has suggested.
Last year renters were advised of the online scam, suggesting some listings on sites such as Quokka and Gumtree were listed at significantly reduced asking rentals to generate enquiry from tenants seeking a bargain. The websites warn prospective tenants to use common sense and not get duped.
The push by agents is seen in part by tenants' advocacy groups as estate agents seeking to prop up their longstanding near monopoly against startup websites and d-i-y landlords.
Gumtree Perth has 1,700-plus rental listings.
Scammers often ask for money to be paid upfront for bond or rent only for the money to disappear.
Realmark managing director John Percudani has suggested this week that prospective renters best deal with licensed real estate agents.
“I think if they are not on a proper website like Realmark, or Realestate.com.au, or Reiwa or thewest.com.com, then they should be very wary,” he told The West real estate YouTube program.
SQM Research show Perth's residential vacancy rate at 0.6% in May.
The WA Department of Commerce’s Consumer Protection unit has confirmed an increase in enquiries from real estate agents seeking advice on combating the rental scams.
Consumer Protection recommends tenants deal with prospective landlords or licensed real estate agents in person whenever possible.
Prospective tenants should be especially wary where emails are solely via free webmail accounts such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.
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