Ask The Consumerists: Should I Rent A House That Is In Foreclosure?

Reader Kelly wants to know if she should risk renting a vacation house that is in foreclosure.

Some friends and I are going to Las Vegas in December and have found a house to rent for the week we are there. We’re getting a shocking good deal, hundreds of dollars cheaper than what was listed in the original posting. When I was Googling the address, I found out that the property is listed as a foreclosure.

They’ve asked for a $400 deposit and then the payment in full 30 days prior to check in. I’ve countered by telling them I saw that the property may be in foreclosure and is it okay to pay the full amount when we get the keys. It’s kind of an awkward situation. I want to help them out, but don’t want to get burnt and have a horrible holiday.

What can we do to protect ourselves against the house being repossessed before our vacation in December? Is that even a possibility? Will putting it on a credit card make a difference if we need to fight it? Does this situation stink worse than Las Vegas casino that’s been smoked in for 50 years and should I run far far away?

Thank you,

Kelly from Canada

PS: In a side note, they’ve also asked for a 2.3% “credit card processing fee”. I thought this wasn’t allowed; is it best to take it up with the property owners or our credit card company?

We think you’ve made an excellent case for not going ahead with this rental. How much is your peace of mind worth? And you’re correct, the processing fee is not allowed for companies that take credit cards as a part of their normal business activities.

We’re going to toss this one out to the crowd. What should Kelly do?

(Photo: kevin dean )