CALGARY- A common scam that surfaces in low-vacancy markets like Calgary has made its way into a small community.
RCMP have been called in after reports someone took deposits from at least nine people wanting to rent a home in High River.
Susan Craig has been searching for a place in the town, and says she found an ad on Kijiji then contacted the landlord. After seeing the house, she agreed to rent it.
“He told us he co-owned the home with a real estate agent. He didn’t give us her name at that specific time, but said that he was doing all the renting on their behalf,” Craig remembers.
She paid a damage deposit, but when the landlord didn’t show up for a meeting to sign the lease she got suspicious. Craig asked for her money back, but hasn’t heard from the landlord since.
“We really needed a place to live. We want to get settled before my daughter starts school. It’s the perfect place, the perfect location, so we went ahead and gave him the money on good faith.”
She has since put a warning up on Kijiji, and heard from others who fell victim to the same scam.
The Calgary Rental Association warns that people need to be wary in low vacancy markets.
“For both landlords and tenants in a market like this you have to be very, very careful,” said Gerry Baxter. “Because it’s easy for either party to be scammed by the other.
“So take your time.”
He adds that renters should be wary of landlords who only want cash, and urge people to pay with cheques instead so there is a paper trail.
RCMP are asking anyone else who has been victimized to contact them.