Taking A Stand Against Scams and Fraud
As the nation’s premier home leasing company, we are committed to providing quality housing options for families and individuals who prefer the flexibility and ease that comes with renting a home. With roughly 80,000 homes in 16 markets, we work with residents to help them locate high-quality homes near good jobs, desirable schools, and other attractive amenities. We also offer technology tools to improve the resident and leasing experience, including virtual visits or home tours without an agent.
Unfortunately, these tools have opened the door to frauds and scams by people falsely posing as leasing representatives. The scammers often use online resources to advertise homes at below-market rates and illegally take advantage of self-show homes. These fraudsters then bilk the individuals looking for a home by taking money they claim is for a security deposit and first month’s rent. The renter then quickly discovers that the contract they signed is not legal and, often, that the home is not available for the promised price.
Protecting Potential Residents
We are always frustrated to learn that one of our homes has been used for these types of scams, which can have a devastating effect on the victims. Our goal, as always, is to offer quality homes and ensure our residents have great experiences. Whenever we learn of an individual or family in this situation, we take every step we can to explore options that will help them through this difficult situation. Our first option is to encourage them to apply with us to see if they qualify for one of our homes. If they do qualify, we mutually sign a legal lease and they enjoy all the benefits of the leasing lifestyle with Invitation Homes. If they do not qualify, we allow them to stay in the home for a reasonable period while they search for alternative housing.
We’ve also stepped up our efforts to get the word out on this issue and better protect individuals in the market for a home. We encourage individuals interested in renting one of our homes to contact us directly via our website. We also advertise on a variety of trusted home listing sites, such as Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and others. We do not advertise on Craigslist, where a majority of these scams take place. So, if you see one of our homes listed there, do NOT contact the person pretending to lease the home. In addition, we offer information on fraud prevention here.
Safeguarding Against Scammers
While we’re doing our part to help educate and inform potential residents, we believe another effective way to avoid these scams is by informing individuals on how to protect themselves when house-hunting. Through our experience dealing with scammers, we’ve identified a few tips that can help protect potential victims of fraud.
- Scammers typically post the home on social media or online classified advertisement sites. We encourage people to verify that the home they see on these platforms also appears on Invitation Homes’ website and that the details are an exact match to those on our site. To do so, go to lease.invitationhomes.com and search for the home’s address. If it does not appear on our site as an available property, it could very well be a scam.
- Compare prices between the home and other comparable rentals. If the price for the home you’re looking at is unusually lower, that could be a red flag.
- When you’re ready to sign, always apply through Invitation Homes’ website or a licensed real estate professional or listings website. Also be sure to look for signs at the home with the name of the property owner or manager. Calling Invitation Homes to confirm the individual is a leasing agent before making a deal is always a smart step.
- Lastly, look out for anyone who asks for payments via cash, wire transfers, or gift cards. This is almost always a sure sign of a scam.
At Invitation Homes, we’re dedicated to making the single-family rental process as seamless and resident friendly as possible. Fraudulent behavior not only undercuts this goal but also needlessly devastates families in the process. As a small but important segment of the housing industry, we are working to protect renters by raising awareness of the risks and tactics posed by scammers.