Desperate renters, high prices and low inventory, a recipe for rental scams – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

It’s the epitome of adding insult to injury: potential tenants were not only tricked out of a place to stay, but were ripped off with the money they saved up to even make the move.

Just ask Elizabeth, Olivia and a third woman who asked not to show her face.

Victim, victim of $4,500 scam: “It’s all over Miami, Miami Beach.”

Olivia, victim of a $5,100 scam: “The housing market is pretty crazy here right now.”

Elizabeth Ghent, victim of a $1,380 scam: “It’s not easy. I had to walk around the neighborhood looking for For Rent signs.

In total, they were scammed out of almost $11,000 in three different scams.

Moving to Miami from New York, Olivia sought an apartment in Brickell.

A Craigslist ad linked her to a second website.

Olivia: “That’s where I saw pictures of the apartment. This is where you could fill out a reservation form, which made me think it was legit.”

Olivia’s request and filing was rushed by the person she thought was the landlord.

Once she arrived in Miami, she got excuse after excuse when she asked to see the apartment.

Olivia: “So they said someone had COVID, and he made up another excuse for electrical and plumbing issues.”

The building is real, the unit is real, the deal was not.

Olivia never set foot in the apartment.

But this victim was shown a Miami Beach unit that she thought was her new home.

The person doing the trick? Turns out she wasn’t the landlord but the tenant evicted by the landlord.

Victim: “She asked me for my identity card, my payslips and my bank statements.”

She says she paid the woman $4,500 for rent and security deposit, but on moving day no one was there.

Victim: “My movers actually took all the stuff out of the truck and put it in the front yard.”

Elizabeth Ghent: “I had long been looking forward to finding an apartment in this area, like right next to my work.

Elizabeth Ghent works as a bartender at Norman’s Tavern in Miami Beach.

During the pandemic, she raised nearly $1,400 for a deposit on a first-floor apartment in this Miami Beach building.

But when she showed up, she was told her unit was on the second floor.

Elizabeth Ghent: “Which was a great thing. My mum can’t climb stairs, so he said, ‘No problem. I have another available. It’s going to be on the first floor.

But she was never contacted, so she asked for her money.

Elizabeth Ghent: “That’s when he got angry. He got mean. He blocked my number.

But a quick Google search shows the man is a New York real estate agent with one-star reviews calling him a slumlord.

The three women caught up in different scams but with one thing in common.

Elizabeth Ghent: “I rushed. I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. »

Olivia: “So I was in a hurry to find an apartment.”

Victim: “That was the problem, I was in such a hurry.”

Scam artists know that people are desperate in South Florida right now to find a place to rent, so don’t rush!

Stop, think and do research before depositing money and make sure the person you are dealing with is legitimately connected to the property.

If there is something you think we should investigate, send us an email:

CONTACT 7INVESTIGATIONS:
305-627-CLUE
954-921-CLUE
[email protected]

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Rental scams and tips to avoid getting scammed:
www.usa.gov/housing-scams#item-211837

CHECK WHO OWNS THE PROPERTY
Miami-Dade County:
www.miamidade.gov/pa/property_search.asp
Broward County:
bcpa.net/RecMenu.asp

File a police report with local law enforcement:
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center:
www.ic3.gov/Home/ComplaintChoice/default.aspx/
Florida Attorney General’s Office:
myfloridalegal.com/__852562220065EE67.nsf/0/7104A3982A883E97852586E7005694F0?Open&Highlight=0,rental,scams

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