Rental and Landlord Scams

Housing scams are on the rise in the GTA and can make finding a place to live very challenging, specifically if you live abroad.

Types of Scams:

Phantom Rentals: An ad for a place that does not exist or is not for rent. Their goal is to get your money before you find out. A good reason to see before you sign!

Hijacked Ad: A scammer posing as a landlord posts an ad for a real place, with altered contact information. Perform a search on the owner and listing. If you find the same ad listed under a different name, that’s a clue it may be a scam.

Already Rented: A landlord uses an ad to collect deposits or application fees for a place already rented. Always Google a property’s address as a start to your review process, and ensure you view the unit, sign the lease and are receiving the keys before handing over any money.

Missing Amenities: An ad for a real place that lists amenities it does not have in order to price the unit higher. If you cannot visit a unit yourself, ask a rental agent or someone you trust to go and confirm that it includes what was advertised.

Bait-and-Switch: The landlord tries to get you to sign a lease or collect a deposit for a different property than the one advertised. If they offer up another unit, be sure to go through the same process to verify the legitimacy of the unit and the landlord.

Suspicious Money Requests: You are asked to send money when you haven’t seen the apartment or met anyone. You are asked to pay an illegal security or holding deposit, a full year’s worth of rent, or other upfront fees. It’s never a good idea to send money to someone you’ve never met in person for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you are asked to wire money, that is a sure sign of a scam. Landlords can only legally ask for last month’s rent and a refundable key deposit, to be collected at the time of signing the lease. No other fees are legal: no application fees, holding fees, damage or security deposits, cleaning fees, pet deposits, etc.

Identity Theft: An ad that is really a trick to get you to hand over confidential info such as a Social Insurance Number (SIN) or banking information. Be protective of your personal information and only provide what is required by law.

Click here for information and tips on how to protect yourself specifically from Landlord or Rental scams.

For more information or to consult with a member of the University of Toronto Housing Services team contact