Unscrupulous individuals can be found lurking everywhere and unfortunately the room renting sector is not exempted.
These con-artists take advantage of those who are unfamiliar with renting procedures and as such, knowledge can be your greatest weapon.
Rental scams often target prospective tenants and get them to pay a deposit or other form of down payment and then disappear. In Malaysia, this is the most common scam in the rental sector.
These con-artists often rent a room for themselves and then make it look like they are authorized to rent the room out to others.
Sometimes, these cases can also involve fake property agents and you may even find that the property you are about to move into may even be in the process of foreclosure!
Tenancy scams usually occur with rentals and often, student areas are the hunting grounds of these snakes. Wangsa Maju and Setapak have been flagged as danger zones as there are many students there and they are more prone to falling prey.
Your personal safety could also be jeopardized, should you choose to meet one of these unscrupulous characters in a private place to collect a pass, key or to make a deposit payment.
It is very important to protect yourself. Always trust your gut instinct and take precautionary measures. Here are some tips:
1. Not to pay cash
Issuing cheques or bank transfer for deposits is a safer option than paying cash (if the individual insists on cash that is a definite red flag). You can also buy a bank draft, make a copy and keep the receipt. Doing so is to leave the bank account number that shows who exactly they are in case if they are rental scammers.
2. Check your contract
Determine legitimacy of the Tenancy Agreement and make sure that you read it carefully. Summarized details can be found on the ‘First Schedule’ or ‘Schedule 1’. You can bring someone along who is familiar with what the document should look like and be sure to check things like identity card numbers, names and addresses to make sure they all add up. The agreement should also have a stamp. You can also check that the bank account details provided correspond to those of the landlord, Management Company or owner.
3. Be aware of any suspicious behavior
If the room you are supposed to be renting seems to be occupied (clothes, bags…etc), that can be a possible red flag. Getting the person to follow you on the day you move into your room can also help ensure that he/she is an authorized individual.
4. Find out who you are dealing with
Be careful about what information you provide (employment letter, payslips, copies of your identity card…etc). For added security, you should cross your IC copy before you provide it to anyone. This can be a delicate balancing act because appearing overly suspicious could cause bad feelings (even if the deal is legitimate).
In order to determine that the property is not under foreclosure, you can also perform a bankruptcy search which is a simple process that can be completed online through the Malaysian Department of Insolvency’s official website for a small fee.
Often, the best way is to deal with a proper management company like Roomz Asia and make sure you deal with them or their official representatives directly.
Roomz Asia management is justified in taking all the necessary precautions as well as in pursuing legal action against individuals if violations do occur.
If you or anyone you know feels that they have been taken advantage of by tenancy scams, please contact us at roomz.asia today.