Watch Out For Scammers Renting Out Homes They Don’t Own

“Make sure that someone owns the apartment they’re making available for rent” seems like a completely batty consumer warning, but unfortunately it is also a necessary one. People in Sacramento say that they handed hundreds of dollars each over to a woman advertising rooms for rent on Craigslist, only to discover that she’d rented the same space out to multiple people, and didn’t own it in the first place.

CBS Sacramento spoke to several people who rented rooms in a house in the city of Sacramento. Well, they thought they had rented rooms. One man gave the purported landlord $950 in cash to rent two rooms, which was all of the money he had on hand. When he went to the house, he discovered multiple people claiming that they had all rented the same room. His prospective housemates gave the woman less money as deposits, but said that she seemed credible.

Who owns a property is a matter of public record, and you can find that information from the county or city government. It may not be online, but a trip to the county hall of records that saves you hundreds of dollars is worthwhile. In Sacramento, for example, you can look up a property record on a county web site. People here in Consumerist’s ancestral home of Yonkers, NY can look up properties on a site for the city. A simple Google search of [town/city name] property search will get you to the information you need.

Call Kurtis: Half a Dozen People Rented My Apartment [CBS Sacramento]