BBB Warning: Rental Scams Still Around as Fall Semester Rolls In

August 17, 2017


Vancouver, BC – University students will be heading back to class across the country within the next couple of weeks, many looking for a place to live for at least the next year. Sadly, rentals scams are still hot on BBB’s radar and victims not only lose money but the stress of not having a roof over their heads as classes begin.

“In Vancouver, those looking for a place to live might be more willing to take a chance on a property because of the extremely low vacancy rate,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “But that doesn’t mean you should put yourself and your money at risk.”

BBB serving Mainland BC’s Scam Tracker report has numerous instances where victims have lost several thousand dollars to would-be landlords who disappeared after promising to send keys after receiving a security deposit to hold the non-existent condo.

“Most students are already on a fixed budget. I’d really hate to see them lose much more and add to the stress of student life,” adds Kelly.

BBB would like to offer the following advice to would-be renters:

• Meet the person in the ad and view the property first.
• Ask neighbours about the landlord and history of the property.
• Be wary of a landlord who is very eager to rent to you.
• Be wary of landlords who only contact you via email or text.
• Be wary of prices that seem too good to be true.
• Check address using Google Street view.
• Be aware that SIN, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers are not required to rent a place.
• Be wary of using cash to secure a rental, if you do, get a receipt.
• Do not feel pressured to hand over your money if you cannot view the property.
• Never wire money to ‘secure your interest.’
• Pay no attention to ads or landlords who claim to be out of the country.
• There are websites like or that record a landlord's address and bank information. This can provide more assurances than using Craigslist and Kijiji whose listings are not vetted prior to posting.
• Flag the posting as a scam with the website’s administrator and contact police so they can keep track of cases.
• Go to to find rental company listings and read the Business Profile and complaint details.


Media Contacts:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2M1

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 365 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 6,000 complaints.