Rental scam red flags

A photo of the Calgary skyline
Protect yourself during your house hunt

Vacancy rates are low in Calgary — which means there is a high demand on available rentals. And there are dishonest people who will use low vacancy rates as an opportunity to scam hopeful renters.

Awareness is your best protection against scammers, so here are a few things to keep in mind as you scroll through listings. This list is not exhaustive, so do your own due diligence and use your best judgement.

Rental red flags:

  • listings without photos or location information
  • a landlord who won't show you the property
  • a poorly written listing for the property or a description that doesn't match the photos
  • the rent is much lower than other properties of the same size in the same area
  • a landlord asking for personal information, like your sin number or work details, before even showing you the property
  • you can't find the address on your map app or on a licensed rental platform
  • you are asked to wire or transfer money before the lease is signed

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the legislation and regulations for rental rights and responsibilities from the Government of Alberta, and try to have a trusted family member or friend join you on any showings. Above all, if something doesn’t feel right, question it. Google the landlord’s name or the property address to see if anything unusual pops up. Request a copy of the lease to review.

Should you secure a property, it is normal to be asked for:

  • proof of income or bank statement
  • references
  • credit report

Once you have seen the property in person and the lease is signed, most landlords will request a security deposit (also known as a damage deposit), which cannot be more than one month’s rent.