As my wife is looking for accommodation in Australia she showed me an ad that seemed a bit too good to be true: rent was much lower than any other accommodation within the area (suspicion #1). The person insisted that they not go through the real estate website but to email them directly (suspicion #2). On emailing the person in charge the following email was received:
First of all I want to thank you for your reply. I really appreciate you took the time to answer me. I am the owner of the apartment located 500/408 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000. It is still available for rent for $190 p/w including utilities for as long as you need. The apartment is in the best conditions, it is newly furnished and equipped with all the dependencies. I bought the apartment in 2007 and I lived there with my pet until last month when I received a promotion and needed to move to Padova / Italy.
In the apartment you will find a dishwasher, a refrigerator, a freezer, a washing machine, a dryer, an iron, , an oven, a toaster, a coffee maker, vacuum cleaner, a big screen TV, cable TV with the basic access, ADSL internet and Wi-Fi access. Also the apartment is near the public transportation, a shopping mall, a gym, and other facilities. There are no problems if you have any pets, as long as you clean up after them. The apartment has a parking space for one car. I have spent a great amount of money refurnishing the apartment and my request is that you treat it like it was your own. I am not interested to make a lot of money from the rent as I am interested to find a tenant that will take good care of the property until my return(minimum lease period, 3 months).
My contract here in Italy expires in October 2013.
Because I had to move to Italy so soon I didn’t had the time to find a trustworthy agent, I had to take the apartment keys with me. I had a real bad experience with the renting agents from the area with my previous home. I can’t come to show you the apartment and I don’t have any friends in the area to send the keys. I found an alternate solution in order to close the transaction safe for the both of us, it is an international delivery solution called Express Metrix (I will pay for a 2 days delivery),they will provide assistance in handling the payment and delivery of the Keys and Lease Agreement.With this procedure you will be able to check the apartment before I receive the payment.
Let me know how this sounds to you.
Looking forward to your answer.
After Googling this search phrase “I received a promotion and needed to move to” and found the following 3 links:
- Suspicious Housing
- Apartment Rental Scam
- Beware of new rental share accommodation scams (see comments for some scams)
This is probably a bogus escrow scam and I hope this will help inform people of these scams and to be wary of dealings with people online. While it seems to be Australian focused, a friend mentioned that there is a similar thing in Canada and probably in other countries as well. It’s sad to see people to resort to such tactics but we all need to be vigilant.
Have a great week and stay safe people!