Streamline your tax compliance with our expert-assisted GSTR 9 & 9C services @ ₹14,999/-

Tax efficiency, interest avoidance, and financial control with advance payment @ 4999/-

Beware of Rental and Lease Scams

With the advancement of technology it is easy for fraudsters to pretend to be someone else and conduct rental and lease scams causing you hefty monetary losses. Continue reading to avoid getting into this trap.


In India, Rental and Lease Scams are on the rise. Hundreds of Potential Renters are looking for people who advertise on real estate websites looking to rent their houses, whether renting your flats or selling your property.

Keywords like ‘Flats For Rent’, ‘Rent Flat In Cities’, ‘Renting Your Home’, and ‘Sell Your Property’ are among the top-picked ads they look for. Unfortunately, fraudsters pretending to be army personnel or other credible professionals to incite wire transfers by victims is quite common. You lose the money once the transfer is completed.

This set of people targets with in-depth research and inspection, using rental and lease scams to draw money from interested tenants and don’t grant them the desired rental property in return.

These frauds are common in India because people come to new cities for various opportunities, whether jobs or education. As the seeker lacks a proper network in the region, they prefer online media for rental search.

These frauds fabricate a facade filled with possibilities and matching criteria that people end up contacting for rental property. Scams in the name of Patta Change Online concern both landlords and tenets. 

In this article, we will update you on the red flags of property. We shall also elaborate on how you can prevent yourself from such scams and how to find a safe apartment for yourself. Let’s understand these rental and lease scams. 

What are Rental and Lease Scams?

Rental and lease scams are fraudulent schemes targeting individuals in search of rental properties. Scammers, masquerading as landlords or real estate agents, advertise non-existent or unavailable properties to ensnare potential tenants. These ads often seem incredibly attractive, offering desirable locations and amenities at competitive prices, making them hard to ignore. The fraudsters engage with interested parties, building rapport and trust through professional communication and sometimes even fake documentation, to make their claims seem legitimate.

As the scam progresses, the fraudster urges the prospective tenant to make an upfront payment. This could be framed as a security deposit, first month’s rent, or an administrative fee, and is usually requested to be transferred directly to a bank account before the tenant has seen the property. Once the payment is made, the scammer typically becomes unreachable, leaving the victim without the promised housing and out of pocket. The sudden break in communication and the realization that the property was a sham can be both financially and emotionally distressing for the victims.

How Are These Frauds Usually Performed?

Technology and modern gadgets play a big role in rental and lease scams. Typically, the scammers trap a person seeking rental apartments on any listing website. One might find a property with diverse amenities at a very reasonable price. Moreover, the displayed properties have lower prices compared to others in that locality. Occupants find property lucrative, good to be true deal, and then the inception of deception goes in full swing. 

What Are The Red Flags For The Property?

Sometimes it can be difficult to notice flaws in a property listed on the website as it is displayed in the best light with captivating pictures and descriptions. Besides, such housing sites are more vulnerable to fraud because anyone can post property details on the site. If you are looking for a Rental property on one such website, you should be mindful of the red flags discussed below and protect yourself against the potential scams.

  • The owner avoids in-person meetings.

It is a negative sign if the person posting the property details on the website doesn’t want to meet and interact with you in person. Also, it is a big red flag if the owner doesn’t want to give you a physical tour of the land and the Real estate consultant services are not clear before finalising the agreement. 

It is, therefore, highly advisable for the renter to meet the owner in real life and check the property before actually renting it. However, if, for any reason, you are unable to take a physical tour, you must at least take a long home video calling session. 

  • They want express move-in

To hide their real identity, in most cases. Scammers specifically force express move in. This tactic aims to prevent detailed inspection of property and owner. If the owner wants you to move in real quick, that is a suspicious sign, and proper investigation on personal grounds is a must. Verbal claims cannot be trusted easily by strangers how good they seem.  

The fraudulent landlord might give you an external view of the property but hesitate to take you inside because he has no access to it. Properties that are right away available and at lower prices usually lead to rental and lease scams.

  • Ask for rent and security deposit before signing a lease

A lease is an agreement that focuses on the periodic payment for occupying a property for a specific period of time. There should be no involvement of money until you haven’t signed a lease. It might be a scam if the landlord and property manager constantly ask for money before signing a lease.

Avoid wire money cause, in such cases. You won’t receive a refund. Always go through cashless transactions. It helps to keep track of accounts.

  • Large deposit

if you are moving to a new place, the owner will ask you for a security deposit refundable when you dispossess the premises once the tenure of such rental comes to an ending. On average, the amount of security deposits generally amounts to a few months of rent. If the deposit amount is too hefty without any explanation or reasoning, then it is a scam

  • Additional Fees

If the landlord keeps on adding fees to the lease except for conventional, move-in, and Telecom fees, then it is a sign of fraud. The bbmp online tax payment is necessary to understand about from some expert panel.

  • Splendorous deal

If you are getting an amazing deal and the price is too reasonable compared to the other houses of the same society, then it can be a Rental and Lease Scam

What is the Typical Modus Operandi of Rental Scammers?

The typical modus operandi of rental scammers involves a specific sequence of actions, akin to other types of scams. To comprehend their approach, it’s essential to recognize the key players in this scheme – the landlords and prospective tenants. Scammers aim to exploit both parties in a similar manner.

Rental and Lease Scams: Recent Example of Rental Scammers

Recent instances of rental fraud highlight the need for vigilance among landlords and tenants. Here are two recent cases where victims suffered significant financial losses:

  • A prospective tenant interested in a residential apartment in Sector-62, Noida, fell victim to a scam, losing approximately Rs 35,000 in supposed flat visiting charges.
  • A landlord in Andheri East lost over Rs 3.5 lakh when a scammer pretended to be an Army personnel interested in her property. The scammer convinced the victim to transfer money and promised to double the amount in return, citing issues with online banking transfers.

What Should You Do If You’re a Victim of a Rental Scam? 

If you’re in India and fall victim to a rental scam, here’s what you should do:

File a Police Complaint: Go to your nearest police station and file an FIR (First Information Report). Provide them with all the details and evidence of the scam to help with the investigation.

Inform Your Bank: If you’ve made any payments, contact your bank immediately. Indian banks might be able to stop the transaction or even reverse it if you act quickly enough.

Collect All Evidence: Keep all emails, messages, payment receipts, and any advertisement or communication you had with the scammer. This will be crucial for the police investigation and any legal proceedings.

Report to Cyber Crime Cell: In India, you can also report online scams to the cyber crime cell of your city or state. The procedure can often be initiated online through their official websites.

Notify the Platform: If you find the rental listing on a website or an app, report the scam to them. Platforms like OLX, Quikr, 99acres, and others have mechanisms to report fraudulent listings and users.

Seek Legal Advice: Consider consulting a lawyer to understand your legal options. They can guide you on possibly recovering your lost money and any legal actions you can take against the scammer.

Spread the Word: Share your experience with friends and family, and consider posting on social media platforms to warn others. Awareness is key to preventing such scams.

Enhance Your Digital Security: Review your online practices, update passwords, and be cautious about sharing personal information online to safeguard against future scams.

Remember, scammers are cunning and exploit people’s trust. Falling victim to a scam doesn’t mean you were at fault. Taking these steps can help you navigate the situation and possibly help others avoid similar scams. Vakilsearch can possibly help.

Checklist for Identifying a Rental Fraud

Here’s a checklist to help identify rental fraud:

  • Landlords or scammers posing as tenants avoid physical property inspections.
  • Scammers rush the process, preventing the other party from having time to think or reconsider. They display excessive eagerness and make verbal claims.
  • There’s a reluctance to engage in proper documentation, with an overreliance on online transactions from the start.
  • When targeting landlords, fraudsters may express interest in paying the agreed deposit but either pay nothing or request clicking on suspicious links.
For tenant victims, a major warning sign is an unusually low monthly rental rate. For instance, if the average monthly rent for a 2 BHK unit in an area is around Rs 25,000, a quote of approximately Rs 12,000 for a similar property may signal a scam.

How to Prevent Yourself from Rental Frauds?

To protect yourself from rental fraud:

  • Always meet the person face-to-face and physically visit the property before making any decisions.
  • Refrain from clicking on links or making payments until you’ve met the property owner and lease documents are signed.
  • Carefully read and, if necessary, have a legal expert review the rental agreement and property documents.
  • Conduct market research to understand prevailing rental rates in the area and connect with current or previous tenants.
  • Avoid making payments via UPI or digital wallets. When using bank transfers, verify the owner’s details before transferring any funds.

Ways To Avoid Rental And Lease Scams

  • Meet the landlord in person and inspect your rental property thoroughly by giving real-time visits
  • Connect to the previous tenants of the property and ask for their reviews
  • The lease should be legitimate. Any grammatical or vocabulary faults can result in fraud
  • Never sign an incomplete lease. Add your suggestion to your lease and make the document accordingly
  • Make sure there isn’t any black space or vague sentences in your lease
  • Avoid wire money and select cashless transactions for payments
  • Don’t give a penny to the owner without signing a lease.

For getting Information on the Rent and Lease Scams, the professionals at Vakilsearch can provide all the help needed right away.


With tenancy laws on state and national levels, to date the majority avoid following the same. This, in turn, leads to such scams as they can only defraud someone who tries to bypass the law, assuming it as an undue delay in procedural work.

Apart from that, low cyber literacy is the prime cause of such scams, people fall victim to the procedure, and counterfeit practices by rental and lease scammers look legit on the surface. Still, the court procedures are lengthy and require evidence. If you are a victim of any Rental or lease scam, you can get justice and your money back under many sections of the IPC, Specific Relief Act, Civil Procedure Code, and other regulatory laws

However, if you still don’t know what to do, you can always seek our guidance and consultancy. We have helped clients in legal proceedings and documentation. If you are shifting to a new place and afraid of property fraud, visit our website to avoid these frauds.


What should I do if I suspect I've encountered a rental scam?

If you suspect a rental scam, cease all communication, do not send any money, and research the property and landlord independently. Report the scam to local authorities or the relevant websites where the listing was found.

Are there any red flags to watch out for when communicating with a landlord or property manager?

Red flags include landlords requesting payment upfront before showcasing the property, unusually low rent, reluctance to provide lease agreements, poor communication or vague listing details.

Can rental fraud occur in both short-term and long-term rentals?

Yes, rental fraud can happen in both short-term (e.g., vacation rentals) and long-term (e.g., apartment leases) situations. Be vigilant in all rental transactions.

What steps can I take to protect myself from rental fraud when searching for a property?

Verify the landlord's identity, visit the property in person, insist on a written lease agreement, avoid premature wire transfers and trust your instincts.

Is it safe to make advance payments or provide personal information to secure a rental property?

It's generally not safe to make advance payments without verifying the property's legitimacy. Avoid sharing personal information until you are certain of the rental's authenticity. Are there any legal actions I can take against rental scammers if I've been a victim of fraud? Yes, you can pursue legal action against rental scammers. Consult with local law enforcement, file a report and seek advice from Vakilsearch experts to explore your options for recovering losses.

How can I report rental fraud to the relevant authorities or organizations?

Report rental fraud to your local police or law enforcement agency. Additionally, intimate the relevant platform from where you found the fraudulent listing. This is important as they can help prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.

Read More:-

Subscribe to our newsletter blogs

Back to top button


Remove Adblocker Extension