Scammers when it comes to apartments
Wow, folks. I just wanted to let potential new-comers to STT (and anyone else that might be interested) in the number of people that have answered my inquiries (from other places such as Craig's List) for a 2x2 for October 1 that have tried to scam me. I have had innumerable people contact me, seemingly above-board at first, that I have deduced to be totally attempting to lure me into an affordable apartment on -island, sight-unseen, for $$ up front. What's clued me in, mostly, is their reluctance to give exact directions to apartments/buildings and their reluctance to send more than four pictures, much less any kind of legal document to look over. I'm by no means a naive guy so this was expected to some extant but the sheer numbers have been astounding.
Regardless, I just thought I'd post this to let other, perhaps less experienced folks, that might be looking the same way know about this. At this point I've just decided to spend the $$ on a hotel for the first week while waiting to be on-island to look for a place. I hope this will be enough time to look for something. I am looking for a 2x1 or a 2x2 on the East End near a safari for about $1500. I posted something on here a while back and have greatly appreciated the responses! Curious to know people's thoughts on this!
This is this century's "Nigerian $1 million bank account" scheme of the 80's & 90's.
We always recommend planning on a 1 - 2 week stay in a cheap hotel while looking for a place to stay. And the folks who are actually trying to rent a house/condo here will be happy to give you their phone numbers, photos, etc.
It's an ongoing problem on craigslist, for sure. We've posted about it here before. General rule of thumb...don't rent LONG TERM, sight unseen. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! Ask for references. Don't send more than one month's rent to hold the apartment. Some may say that's too much, but if you're asking the landlord to take the apartment off the market, and hold it for you, that is a fair minimum/maximum amount to pay up front.
What are they telling you about why they won't give directions? Maybe they are just giving you a general idea, since you aren't here yet, and an address won't really do you much good.
Feel free to share any ad you see, or the name of any potential landlord, with this board. It's a small island. Someone will be able to give you some insight.
At this point I've just decided to spend the $$ on a hotel for the first week while waiting to be on-island to look for a place. I hope this will be enough time to look for something.... Curious to know people's thoughts on this!
Jamie: This board is almost unanimous in the advice: Don't rent anything sight unseen!!! Even if you are here, check it out!
Glad you didn't send anyone in Nigeria your SS # and PIN!;) The week's hotel (or guest house) rent will be well worth it.
While I respect the opinions of others voiced here, not everyone is a scammer. If you can't see a property first-hand before renting (and sometimes that's just not feasible), find someone who can check it out for you and give you the real scoop.
Here on St John you can do that via your prospective employer or maybe even any regular poster to the forums. The island is small and word gets around fast on what's available and owrthwhile. If you can't get details on the property location, photos or a lease agreeement, pass on that place and move on to another. Anyone who wants to rent to you will be anxious to pass that info along. Another suggestion is to insist on knowing who it is you will be renting from. You can learn a lot by checking out your potential landlord's reputation. No decent landlord want to rent to someone who will be unhappy once they arrive. We had to move here site unseen over 15 years ago and it worked out just fine. We've since built a house and have rented apartments to two sets of individuals site unseen and both parties extended their lease after the term was up. .
I know what you are talking about. There is problem with CL people that want to hold your apartment while they GET down to the island, then don't show or when they get down they have an emergency and con't do it.. So I generarlly don't hold anything without money! Then there are people on CL that are great and work with you to rent your unit. It takes all kinds.
I don't send pictures until I talk to them. I describe the place and then talk with them to determine if I want them or not then progress to pictures and then the lease. Each a separate step.
Finding a good person to rent is the most difficult thing. It is not easy.
Exactly right, billd. I had a young man send the first month deposit and never show up. Three days after his expected arrival date, he called and demanded his money back. This all after we had been emailing, calling, etc. Said it was simply a "good faith" deposit.
I got a phone call last week from a gentleman wanting to see an apartment. Usually I ask, at the very least, where they got our number. By the way.....MOST of the time, it's from this website!!:) I was distracted and simply gave him directions and he drove right out to see the unit. He seemed like a fine young man but didn't ask the right questions, ya know? Said he'd be back in touch. I noticed his car had a "hot rod" kind of sound to it. I don't know what else to call it, but it was loud.
That night, and every night since, I have heard a hot rod sounding car on our road. I'm sure it's not him, and we haven't had any trouble, but it did serve as a reminder to me to qualify people a bit more before just giving them directions, etc.