Home rental scams are something that happens all too often across the Las Vegas valley. Now thieves are targeting a property in the community known as The Lakes near Hualapai and Desert Inn Road, which is on the west side of the valley.
Homeowners who live in the cul de sac told 8 News NOW that for months they’ve seen people who had been promised a great deal trying to rent the home. Some even paying what they thought was a down payment.
But the home is still up for rent by the owners and fake ads are still up online.
A fraud alert sign was posted outside the home at the center of the rental scam.
“A lot of people have been very unhappy when they have come to meet somebody to let them in to look at it, and no one showed up,” said Gary Weaver, a neighbor in the cul de sac.
Some neighbors have spoken to numerous families who have paid up to $2,000 up front after finding an ad to rent the home on Craigslist.
“A woman showed up, who I felt so bad for, in a Penske Rental Truck with all her belongings in it to meet the realtor to give her the keys,” said Dave Bell, neighbor.
The home, located at The Lakes, is owned and managed by a company called American Homes 4 Rent.
The owners are listing the property, but so are scammers. 8 News NOW found two Craiglist ads for the property, and each one had a different out of state phone number unrelated to the company that is really leasing the home, which again is American Homes 4 Rent.
8 News NOW called both numbers, but no one answered. The two ads list the home for rent for a $1,000 per/month, and that includes some utilities.
Neighbors say the price alone for a four-bedroom home in this community should be a red flag.
“As too good to be true is, it’s too good to be true,” Bell said.
The real property owners are using a lockbox to show the home to potential renters remotely. All they need to gain access to the home to view it is a code.
But not everyone thinks that’s a good idea.
“I would say those are the most dangerous because those are the ones that scammers are evolving and adapting to,” said Mikhail Martinez, the office manager for Family Property Management.
Experts at an unrelated property management company are advising renters to do their due diligence.
One way to do that according to Martinez is by, “Trying to look up either this person or this company online because that way you can verify that they are legitimate.”
A good place to start is by looking them up on the Better Business Bureau’s website and other online reviews.
Experts say those in the market to rent a home should also stay away from Craiglist.
“If American home is without fault in this, they would do something with Craigslist to get those ads taken off,” Weaver said.
8 News NOW reached out to the property owners for comment but never heard back. Other property management companies say they too often deal with scammers listing their rental properties.