Property Management Blog

Rental Scams - Don't Get Burned

Rental Scams - Don't Get Burned

The Top 5 Rental Scams Every Landlord Should Watch Out For

In the world of property management and real estate, staying ahead of scammers is crucial for protecting your investment and ensuring a smooth operation. Today, we're diving into the top five rental scams that have been rampant, offering insights and advice to landlords and property managers on how to combat them.

Beware of Fake Pay Stubs

The number one scam on our list is the alarming rise of fake pay stubs. The internet is awash with services offering to generate these fraudulent documents for a fee. These pay stubs can look incredibly legitimate, tricking unsuspecting landlords and property managers into renting to unqualified tenants. To counter this, we recommend utilizing advanced tenant screening services that employ artificial intelligence to verify the authenticity of pay stubs, ensuring that all financial information is accurate and legitimate.

What About Fake References

Another common scam involves prospective tenants providing fake references. These references often come in the form of supposed past landlords or acquaintances ready to vouch for the tenant. The reality, however, is that these references are often friends of the tenant, staged to give glowing, but entirely fabricated, testimonials. Landlords should thoroughly verify references, looking for inconsistencies and ensuring the credibility of the information provided.

The Fake Service Animal Scam

The misuse of service animal documentation is a scam that exploits the goodwill towards individuals with genuine needs. To minimize encounters with fake service animal claims, consider adopting pet-friendly policies that include reasonable pet fees or deposits. This approach encourages transparency and reduces the likelihood of tenants attempting to bypass pet restrictions through deception.

Fake IDs and Altered Documents

Fake identification and altered documents are becoming increasingly sophisticated, thanks to digital technologies. Landlords should insist on seeing original documents and, where possible, use screening services that include facial recognition and document verification technologies. These tools can compare the photo on an ID with the applicant's selfie, ensuring the applicant is who they claim to be.

Illegal Subletting a.k.a. “Rental Arbitrage”

Subletting scams have surged, driven by advice from online "get-rich-quick" real estate gurus. In these schemes, tenants rent properties only to illegally sublet them on platforms like Airbnb. Landlords should be clear about their subletting policies in their lease agreements and be vigilant about monitoring their properties for unauthorized occupancy.

Protecting Your Investment

Preventing these scams starts with a rigorous tenant selection process and solid lease agreements. Membership in professional organizations like the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) can also be a hallmark of a reputable property manager. Certified property managers can offer invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of the rental market, ensuring your property is in capable hands.

Remember, while technology and scams evolve, the principles of diligent screening and professional management remain your best defense against rental fraud. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and consider partnering with professionals who can help safeguard your investment against these ever-present risks.


Mario Gonzalez and his team at Navy to Navy Homes hold the highest property management certifications that NARPM. Give them a call and hear how their cutting-edge tenant screening processes using AI can give you the most protection possible from these scams. Their consultation is free and you can even get a free rental analysis here: https://www.navytonavy.com/property-management-in-jacksonville-fl

Full YouTube Video can be seen at: https://youtu.be/RYokk-Yb4bg

Authored by:

Mario Gonzalez

Navy to Navy Homes

4540 Southside Blvd., Ste 702

Jacksonville, FL 32216


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