Craigslist Houses For Rent By Private Owners – How to Spot a Rental Scam


Craigslist is a free classified advertisement website offering jobs, housing, items for sale, and local community ads. Established by Craig Newmark in 1995 and located in the US.

One prevalent scam involves an impostor landlord collecting deposits and rent money from interested parties before vanishing without providing services in return. This practice is known as middleman fraud.

1. It’s Free

Contrasting NYC apartment search behemoth Streeteasy, which charges landlords to post availability listings, Craigslist allows private individual landlords to list their apartments without incurring fees for posting availability – thus making craigslist houses for rent by owner extremely popular – it enables people to forgo paying brokers’ commission fees altogether and save thousands over their lease term!

Although Craigslist may not be perfect (it can host brokers and scammers), it remains the quickest and least-expensive way to find an apartment. With its intuitive user interface and fast search function, there’s sure to be something suitable.

To get started on Craigslist, visit your local website and select the category for your city or region, followed by “for sale or rent.” Be sure to filter by-owner listings only, as Craigslist provides limited verification on listings and may flag brokers’ ads as potential matches.

2. It’s Easy

Finding a rental in NYC can be a difficult and expensive endeavor, with broker fees often costing several thousand dollars and homes for rent limited. One way of bypassing broker fees and increasing supply is searching craigslist for houses for rent by private owners; this eliminates broker fees, but be wary of scammers since this search term is frequently used to find rental opportunities.

Scammers are always searching for ways to steal your hard-earned money, with the internet serving as an ideal breeding ground for less-than-honest individuals. Add this to people’s desperation to find housing and you have an easy target. When searching for rentals, always take your time and follow your instincts – otherwise, red flags could easily be missed when emotions run high!

Whenever a listing appears too good to be true, it often is. Scammers often price rentals well below market value in order to create an urgent sense of urgency and require deposits before seeing or meeting with landlords – this way, they get you to lose your sense of judgment and part with money quickly.

Scammers typically request that you send money via Western Union or Moneygram; no legitimate landlord or property manager would ask their tenants or prospective tenants to send this way; in fact, they’d usually prefer meeting in person and taking references before renting anything out to them.

Reverse image search of photos used in ads is also recommended to ensure they have not been used elsewhere on the web. If a picture appears elsewhere, be sure to ask the landlord or property manager why the same photo has been reused; they should be able to explain why; otherwise, move on to another listing, saving both time and money over time.

3. It’s Safe

Craigslist can be an excellent place for private owners to advertise their rental property, but they must know how to spot rental scams. There are various strategies you can employ in doing this, such as avoiding ads that sound too good to be accurate and watching out for ads requesting that money be sent before seeing the rental; any such ads should be reported immediately as these could be fraudsters trying to scam renters out of money.

Avoid renting from brokers when possible. Most typically, brokers post apartments on Craigslist under “By owner,” making it hard to spot fraudulent ads and more restrictive terms than landlords could provide you with.

An effective way to identify rental scams is conducting a Google reverse image search of any photos used in an advertisement. This can help determine whether they come from real homes for sale or just any location. One Craigslist house for rent by owner listing some years back actually used photos from a home that was under contract to be sold and was never intended as rental housing!

Thirdly, be wary if the landlord requests that you send cashier’s checks or wire funds through Western Union or Moneygram, as this method is insecure and challenging to trace should anything go awry during the transaction. Most victims of Craigslist rental scams report having felt uneasy during their experience, so trust your intuition!

Finally, it’s wise only to provide your contact details via email to avoid someone stealing your name and email from an ad. If there are any doubts regarding a rental ad, calling directly is a great way to reassure yourself that you’re dealing with a legitimate person instead of an impostor scammer.

4. It’s Fast

Craigslist house rentals or apartment rentals can contain scams; however, legitimate rentals also exist. When choosing one to rent from, always be cautious and do your research – meeting them in person, reviewing their background check results, etc. Be wary if someone requests Western Union or money order payments, as this could be a red flag, as scammers commonly ask for these types of payment methods.

Avoid Craigslist rental scammers who make you feel sorry for them by giving some sob story like having to move out of town to care for family or relocation due to work – these should all be red flags since legitimate landlords wouldn’t behave this way.

Another indicator of nonprofessional landlords would be frequent grammar and punctuation mistakes in emails, paperwork, and any other forms they send you. This indicates they might be concealing something. Avoid landlords that refuse to meet in person, as this should raise red flags – genuine landlords always want to meet potential tenants directly and should welcome such opportunities!

Many people use Craigslist to locate their next home or apartment. This website has allowed many individuals to save both money and time by bypassing brokers while providing an opportunity to connect with fellow tenants as well as learn about your new area. Unfortunately, however, some have complained about fake ads on Craigslist which pretend to belong to actual property owners.