Blog > Common Rental Scams to Avoid and the Latest Scams in Ontario


Common Rental Scams to Avoid and the Latest Scams in Ontario

Rental scams are currently the seventh riskiest scam in Canada. In 2023, over $720,000 was stolen by scammers from unsuspecting renters and that amount is expected to increase this year. Up to 43% of renters have been scammed at some point.

Scams not only cost potential tenants hundreds if not thousands of dollars, thye can also leave renters in a potentially dangerous situation of not having a home or the funds to pay for another place to stay.

Understanding what they are and how to avoid rental scams will go a long way in protecting yourself and your money.

What is a rent scam?

Apartment rental frauds specifically target individuals who are looking to rent property. The main goal of the scammer is to get your money or your personal information so they can steal your identity.

Most Common Apartment Rental Frauds

Ontario cities are magnets for scammers because there is a higher demand for affordable rental properties. The latest rental frauds in Ontario are:

Fake Listings

Fake listings are the most common rental scams. Fraudsters create a fake ad for a property that either doesn’t exist or isn’t available to rent. These complex scams are designed to trick renters into paying upfront fees and deposits. By the time the would-be tenant realizes it’s a fake listing, their money is long gone.

These scams can be hard to spot because scammers usually get pictures of real properties that were previously listed for sale or rent. Other signs that the listing is fake are:

Bait-and-Switch Scams

With this type of rental scam, landlords advertise one property but show the renter a completely different property. The one that is shown is usually in worse condition than the one that was advertised. Bait-and-switch scams are done as a way to try to force a tenant into renting a place they wouldn’t otherwise agree to. Misrepresentation of a property can include condition, size and type of place, fixtures included, and location.

Deposit Fraud

Scammers pose as a landlord and list a fake property for rent. They will ask for a deposit from prospective renters in order to hold or secure the rental property. Once the scammer receives your money, they and their ad disappear. Most of the time, the type of deposit the fraudster demands isn’t legally required in order to hold a property.

Identity Theft

Scammers are also using fraudulent rental ads to steal your identity and other personal information like SIN numbers or banking information so they can steal your money and identity. Never give a landlord or leasing company information that you are not legally required to provide.

How to Avoid Rental Scams

The best way to protect yourself from rental fraud is by doing your homework and being diligent in your efforts to protect your money and personal information. Verify the owner and property. Find out or seek legal advice on what information and payments you are legally required to provide. Never send money without verifying information first. Only use trusted sources that can verify a listing.

To avoid rental scams, meet the landlord in person, always view and inspect the potential property first or have a trusted person go on your behalf. Document and photograph everything. Make sure the legal lease has all the correct details of the rental unit including address, size and type of property, amenities included, price and other key information about the agreement.

Never give more than what is required. If you are submitting an online form, make sure it is on a secure site. Most importantly, trust your instincts.

What to Do if You’re Scammed

If you’ve been scammed, report it to your local authorities or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre immediately.

Contact your financial institution to freeze or stop payment in your bank accounts. Flag the listing on the site where you saw it. Stay up to date on all the latest news and rental frauds in Ontario.



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