A recent increase in the number of online rental scams being reported to authorities has prompted the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) to issue the following tips, which will help ensure that any transaction is a safe and hassle-free one.
While these tips are good for any situation and in any location, they are specifically designed to address the booming rental market in southern Delaware.
To avoid potential issues when renting a property, whether for the week or the month or even longer, you should:
- Be wary of scams. Many visitors book their properties online only to realize when they arrive at their destination that the home is not available and that they were cheated out of their hard-earned money. And the police usually can’t help, because tracking someone online can be very difficult.
- Overpaying. Property owners, even legitimate ones, often comprise a rental amount to see if someone will pay the inflated price.
- Problems. If the owner isn’t local and something happens while you’re in town, who’s going to address the problem for you? By using a licensed rental agent, there is always someone to call when problems arise.
“As licensed agents who subscribe to a code of ethics, we hear about these sorts of scams all the time, but unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about it after the fact,” says Sharon Palmer-Stauffer, who serves as the 2014 chair of SCAOR’s rental affairs committee. “But if you use a licensed agent to begin with, we can protect you in many instances and ensure that your stay in the area is a pleasant one.”