Dishonest sellers and agents have different means to scam the unwary buyer. But while the most prevalent scams involve buying property, rental scams are also in play. These three are the most common types of rental scams in the Philippines:
1. Pirated listings
Ads abound online of property for rent. Scammers can "pirate" these listings, copy-pasting photos and information about the house and uploading a duplicate of the ad on another site, where they pretend to be its owner, landlord, or representative and ask you for a security deposit or a broker fee upfront. A simple online search should confirm whether the ad is legitimate. Check for duplicates of the ad and take note of who posted it. A listing posted multiple times by more than one person claiming to be its representative means that one of them is likely trying to scam you. It's imperative to meet up with this person to look at the property. Be wary of those who don't or can't show up.
2. Vacant house scam
Rental scams also use houses that sit vacant for a period of time. These houses are either for sale or have owners/occupants who are abroad or out of town. The scammers, in this case, pretend to be the house's representatives, going as far as breaking into the home to change its locks, so that they can show it to potential tenants. They produce fake rental documents and scam the renter into paying for the security deposit and the advance payment.
3. Insufficient disclosure
Insufficient disclosure happens when dishonest agents withhold information or lie about the property and its location. Renters who sign the contract without due diligence later discover hidden defects with the property or its location. It's a common scam in buying property as well.