When you sign up for an online booking service, you may be unwittingly agreeing to rent out your home to someone else, experts have warned.
The rental agency you’re using may be a rental broker, or you may just be using an online portal to advertise a rental property, experts from rental-broker firm Recluse said.
“The person who is doing the renting may be using the services of a reputable rental agency, but they’re not actually renting the property to you,” Associate Professor Chris Wilson from the Australian Institute of Renters and Agents said.
“They may be renting it to someone who wants to make money out of it, but is actually renting it out for the purpose of profit.”
Mr Wilson said that the vast majority of people renting out their home were people with a low income and who were looking to make a quick buck.
“There’s also a very large amount of people who are renters with very little to no money to spare and they’ll rent out the property for as little as $1,000 a month,” he said.
A rental agency could potentially be selling a property to a third party for $1 per month, for example, or paying you $1 a month.
But you can’t get the property back if the rental agency’s agent is a scammer.
If you’re in doubt about the authenticity of the rental property you’re interested in, it’s best to seek out a reputable agency first, he said to check with the rental agents that are the ones who have a history of not only being honest but also good at selling their properties.
“If you find an agent who’s not honest, it will be difficult for you to trust that they’re really going to make sure that you get what you pay for,” Associate professor Wilson said.
If the rental agent isn’t a reputable one, you’ll have to find another way to get the same property.
“I would recommend you look for other rental properties you can rent out, and you can find out if there’s a third-party agent that’s reputable,” Associate Prof Wilson said, adding that there are many other options to find out more about what a third‑party agent is, how much they charge, and what their commission rates are.
What to do if you’re renting out your property for profitWhen you sign-up for an internet booking service like Airbnb or Gumtree, you might have unknowingly agreed to rent a property out for profit.
You can check if a property is available by searching for “home”, “rental”, or “rent” and typing in “house rental”.
If the search results don’t have any listings, check with your rental agency.
If your property is listed, but you don’t get a response, then it may be being rented out to someone for profit, a Reclus expert said.
You’ll have the option of paying a commission or making a small commission for the property if you find the property is for profit but it’s not listed, or by booking it yourself.
“You’re in this position where you have to pay a small amount of commission to get a property listed, and then you pay another amount of money to get it listed for you,” Professor Wilson said to Radio National’s Today programme.
“It’s a very easy scam to pull off.”
Once you’ve signed up, you’re getting a rental contract and you’re signing a contract that’s basically saying that you’re going to be paying somebody $1 for every rental you’ve made for a period of time.
“What to avoidIf you have any doubts about whether or not a property you’ve been renting out for a short period of period has been booked out for an actual profit, it is best to ask the property’s agent or a reputable third party to confirm the property isn’t for profit and you won’t get any commission.”
Some people will pay $20 a day to rent the property, but if they’ve only been there for one or two days and they’ve rented it out again and again and you haven’t paid any commission, they’re probably going to find that you’ve paid a fee for the services that they’ve been providing,” Associate faculty Wilson said of the practice of renting out a property for short periods.”
Then they’ll be very suspicious of you and the fact that you haven a rental agreement saying that they have the right to do that.
“If you don�t want to pay the money you’re being asked to pay to the third party, you can also ask the agent to confirm whether the property will be booked out at a fixed rate, and whether the agent is able to make you a quotation for the cost of the property.
If a property has been rented out for nothing more than a few days and you’ve not been contacted, you should contact the property and ask to see your property.
Rent-to‐own scamsThe number one