Renting a new home can sometimes be exciting — there's the anticipation of moving into a new home. This excitement and anticipation can make you fall victim to fraudulent agents and homeowners who are out to take advantage of you.
Although these rental scams are common, they could be hard to identify for the first-time renter. It's essential to be aware of these common scams to protect yourself and your finances.
In this article, we'll discuss some of Nigeria's most popular rental scams and how to avoid them.
- Agents not wanting to schedule a viewing
Be wary of any agent or homeowner who deflects when you bring up a viewing. There are several reasons why they might hesitate to show you the property you're interested in. If you find a house online and the agent doesn't want to show you the place, insist on seeing it yourself before you make any payment. If an agreement is reached for you to view the property, do not pay for any viewing view until you've seen the house and you're sure all the information presented by the agent is accurate.
2. Rent prices that are too good to be true
If the rent looks too good to be true, it's because it's too good to be true. Don't get excited by the look of the place, and go ahead to pay the rent so quickly. Visit the house and look out for errors. Ask important questions before spending any money on the property. Putting up beautiful pictures of places is one of the scams that's as old as time. Never rush to pay for a home like that without seeing it with your own eyes and verifying every piece of information about it.
3. Uncompleted buildings
Run away from any agent or homeowner who tells you they'll finish the house with whatever you pay for rent. Trust us; they won't. Never pay rent for a home, hoping it will get worked on with that money. Even when it's not a scam, and the homeowner or agent is honest, renting an uncompleted house extends the time it will take you to move into a new place. Don't do it.
4. Rushing you to pay immediately
Beware of anyone creating a sense of urgency around a house — there's a high chance they're doing it to get the home off their hands. Schedule a viewing, check around the house, and ensure that it's located in a safe and secure environment. Never pay immediately after seeing a place online or visiting it for the first time, especially if it's one of the first ones you've seen.
5. No tenancy agreement
Only ever rent a house with a tenancy agreement. Not having a tenancy agreement makes you liable for every damage to the property. A tenancy agreement establishes clear direction between responsibilities that are yours and those that are the landlords'. Word of mouth isn't legally binding and won't help you in the long run. Ensure you have a signed copy of a tenancy agreement. That's what the legal bill is for, anyway.
6. Not knowing the landlord or caretaker
You have little interaction with the agent when the rent is completed. Always request to meet the landlord or caretaker while looking for an apartment so you know who to meet for issues concerning the house.
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