***Update: The people who moved into our home without authrorization have refused to leave and refused to pay rent, although they have offered $700 per month for six months starting in January (the mortgage plus fees is $1200). Looks like they may be con artists and not victims after all. Sigh.****
This post is completely off topic , but as this drama has taken up most of my morning and is truly bizarre I had to share.
Several years ago, three friends and I purchased a rental property in Cordova, Tennessee. The house was new, the down payment was low (especially split four ways), and the area was nice. We have had a series of good renters since that time and have left the management of the property to a property management firm.
Our latest tenants moved out last Saturday due to a job relocation. Today I received a phone call from property management asking if we had leased out the house on our own. Uh, no. Well, neither did they. Despite the fact that neither we nor property management leased out the house, someone moved in on Monday or Tuesday. Someone with 2 dogs, nice furniture and a car in the front yard.
Turns out that Craig’s List is being used yet again for a scam. In our case, someone took the photos from our property management firm’s listing and advertised the property for rent on Craig’s list for $500 less per month than the real rental rate. The reply e-mail for the scam? A Yahoo address with my name. The ad went up on Nov 25, someone quickly took the bait, turned over probably somewhere in the ballpark of $1400 to the scammer and moved-in.
So, what happens next? For starters a police report is being filed. Then our property management firm has to post an eviction notice on the door. If the unauthorized tenants want to stay in the home and can afford the real rental price we would love to have them stay. We’ll even work out a payment plan on the deposit if necessary and allow them to keep the dogs (we usually only allow one small dog or cat). If they won’t or can’t, they have 3 days to find a new place to live. On day 3, the Sheriff removes them and their belongings from the home.
This is a really unfortunate situation for these poor people who signed a fake lease, turned over a substantial sum of money and paid to be moved into a house they have no legal right to live in.
Please be aware when responding to Craig’s List or other internet type ads. There are a lot of scams out there. Bottom line: if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
Filed under: Misc. |