Have you been watching the housing market? Here in our area alone, homes are selling for more than asking price, and rentals are harder and harder to come by. So what do you do? Take a chance? Maybe get scammed out of your hard earned paycheck? Or keep your eyes open and make sure you don't get taken to the cleaners.

The Ulster County District Attorney has a few tips to help you steer clear of rental scams. You probably already know most of these tips, but a great reminder just might be what we all need after living in a bit of a fog these last few months.

Photo by Jaye Haych on Unsplash
Photo by Jaye Haych on Unsplash
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Should you give money to hold a place before you have actually seen it?

  • Oh No! Don't give anyone any amount of money, even $1, until you have seen the place.

But Rentals are going quickly, how can I make sure to get a place?

  • Yes, places (rentals) are going quickly and for more than ever before, but take the time to make sure that the person who is attempting to rent this unit to you actually owns it. Contact the county clerk (for the county you are trying to rent in) and ask about that particular address. Find out who owns it? Any chance it is the same person that you are talking to about renting it?

When checking out a new place, will it hurt or help to bring someone with me?

  • Make sure that someone else goes with you when you go to see the property. Safety in numbers.

The photos online look great, should I just sign a contract without looking at the place?

  • Do not sign any rental agreements until you see the actual property. Don't just look at photos online or a video tour, fall in love with a place and then give them all your money, until you have seen it.

Should I just expect heat and hot water, along with trash pick up to be included?

  • Double check what is included with your rent. Trash? Snow? Exterior maintenance? Laundry facilities? Ask these questions BEFORE you rent the property.

If at any point this situation or subsequently your landlord becomes a little nasty, you can call the Ulster County Office of Consumer Affairs for additional advice. 845-340-3260. 

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