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Veloise

Rental rant

18 posts in this topic

Have the Nigerian scam artists started buying local rental property?

Twice in the last week I've encountered bait & switch advertising. I guess running a classified in the Press is an effective way to test the market rate; if you list a 2br lower for $540 and get inundated with responses, you'll find out that's a little low. ("Gee, we manage so many properties, we got confused on the price.")

The ones from yesterday really ticked me off. Their ad has appeared for several Sundays; no response to several voice mails. Finally they call me ("we were out of town"), we discuss it, set up an appointment. Then they start with the "we just wanted to let you know that the [not unreasonable price] is an introductory rate, and after several months it will go up to where it should be [add $100]." A subsequent call is just to let me know "it should really rent for [$250] higher than advertised." Nevermind. Perhaps you can find a tenant who just fell off the tater truck, but that's not me. (I work with commercial leases and contracts every day. Arbitrarily raising the rent mid-term is not even legal.)

Anyone knowing of a spacious 2br flat with basement bicycle space somewhere east of College and north of Wealthy, please PM me. Oh, and I need a functional fridge too, and a landlord who comprehends the city's bag- tag garbage collection process (the big reasons I'm looking to move).

[hope this doesn't violate forum rules; want to share these horror stories and my sister is on vacation]

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I noticed a two bedroom house on W. Leonard St. renting for the same price. Somethings rotten in Denmeark about that. Maybe the house is owned by the same scammers.

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Similar but different scam, a few years ago when I was looking for a job I found something that looked promising in the Grand Rapids Press. Calling the number just gets some "employment agency." You can always tell their ads because they say "Job Line" at the end. Anyway, the jobs advertised in those ads don't actually exist. They want to sell you their service, which they claim is to help you find a job, but in reality they do nothing to help you get a job. They just take your money.

-nb

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Yah, my next door neighbor spent his last paycheck after the lay off on just one "job line" referal. Hell all it turned out to be was that they gave him the information that led to the company that was hiring. He applied at this company only to find out he was one out of 300 or so applicants. "Guarenteed job," on their answer machine should be the first clue for my neighbor.

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Veloise, do you know if can realtors/landlords be prosecuted, or at least reported, for false ads?

Similar but different scam, a few years ago when I was looking for a job I found something that looked promising in the Grand Rapids Press...Anyway, the jobs advertised in those ads don't actually exist.

I once answered an ad seeking students for summer positions in "Architectural Detailing." Apparently, that's code for customer service at Lowes. :lol:

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Veloise, do you know if can realtors/landlords be prosecuted, or at least reported, for false ads?

...

Dunno. If they had changed their prices once seeing me...but the latter one was completely on the phone. I can't say they discriminate against cyclists since I walked to the other one. None of the on-line listing places would offer any checking; I have run across ads in the 2br category where the text states "1br," and so forth.

Years ago, I was looking at a place in Ann Arbor (in the student ghetto section) and the landlord stood there with a straight face and told me, "it's very quiet," as North Main traffic roared away underneath.

Only karma and the universe can definitely take care of these yahoos. When their signs stay up for months because no one bites, you'd think they would get a clue.

[i'm also not happy about the tendency to plunk a rentgr.com sign in the front yard and think it's taken care of. Get on-line and complete the listing, fool!]

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Dunno. If they had changed their prices once seeing me...but the latter one was completely on the phone. I can't say they discriminate against cyclists since I walked to the other one. None of the on-line listing places would offer any checking; I have run across ads in the 2br category where the text states "1br," and so forth.

Years ago, I was looking at a place in Ann Arbor (in the student ghetto section) and the landlord stood there with a straight face and told me, "it's very quiet," as North Main traffic roared away underneath.

Only karma and the universe can definitely take care of these yahoos. When their signs stay up for months because no one bites, you'd think they would get a clue.

[i'm also not happy about the tendency to plunk a rentgr.com sign in the front yard and think it's taken care of. Get on-line and complete the listing, fool!]

Veloise,

Have you tried the Heritage Hill Association's web site: http://www.heritagehillweb.org/, click on "Rental and Sales Listings."

I always had great luck with their listings.

Hope you find your ideal space soon!

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I love the concept of rentgr.com, a local place to find apartments. But it sucks as a web site otherwise. Craigslist is also good in theory, but it's not very apartment-centric. There aren't good searching tools. It succeeds in being a good replacement to classified ads though.

-nb

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I love the concept of rentgr.com, a local place to find apartments. But it sucks as a web site otherwise. Craigslist is also good in theory, but it's not very apartment-centric. There aren't good searching tools. It succeeds in being a good replacement to classified ads though.

-nb

I agree! The idea behind rentgr.com was great, but they haven't proven to be that helpful. Last year when I was looking for an apartment, I was frustrated using it, because the pages don't line up well, they're difficult to search and sort, and they weren't updated! I can't tell you how many ads I called on, and got "oh, sorry we rented that two weeks ago, they haven't taken that off rentgr yet?"

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Hi guys, this is Mark from rentGR.com

Please report anyone using "bait and switch" with their rentGR.com listings by e-mailing us at [email protected]

"Bait and switch" is neither cool, nor acceptable, and property owners doing it will be dealt with as soon as a report is received. It is for this reason that we do not allow listings to feature more than one rental unit (even if in the same home or address). If a listing is observed to feature more than one rental unit, please report it to us as well.

Promotional rates for the first month(s) of a lease are acceptable, but ONLY if written as such. If this is not written in the listing and you are told about it when you call, it's a foul ball and needs to be reported to us immediately.

It is up to the property owners to keep their listing current or de-list it when rented. Most are really good at it. Unfortunately, a few are not good at it because they either don't know how to read and follow directions, or they don't run their rental business very efficiently.

Because of how our model works, we believe that rentGR.com has the most up-to-date rental listings in West Michigan. It's far better than it was a year ago, and it's about to get a lot better than it is now.

We are striving to be the best rental resource, so keep coming back. Some really (REALLY) neat changes are on the horizon.

Thank you!

rentGR.com - Grand Rapids apartments and cool places to live in West Michigan

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But it sucks as a web site otherwise.

It's a pre-fab job. It really does suck, there's a lot of opportunity for improvement. I guess we're about to see some.

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We'll see, the last time there was improvement, I wasn't impressed.

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The thing I think is brilliant is the marketing with the yard signs. I could do a much better web site in a week.

-nb

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Both incidents were from ads in the Press, not your site.

It is up to the property owners to keep their listing current or de-list it when rented. Most are really good at it. Unfortunately, a few are not good at it because they either don't know how to read and follow directions, or they don't run their rental business very efficiently.

...

Most of what I've seen: not listing anything at all. The yard sign appears, and I search using several methods, including street name, to locate the unit. Not there. Not your fault, but perhaps some feedback to users would result iin better results for everyone.

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Part II...

I expand my horizons and ride around the NE side to investigate. Wow, Belknap's, keep it a secret! Nice place you got there!

So I write down addresses, descriptions, and phone numbers on several likely suspects, and I shoot 'em with my digicam so I can try to remember which one was what.

One phone number keeps appearing again and again. It's not a commercial sign, no RPOA or RentGR affiliation. *I call and leave a message. Repeat from * five times now.

What is this? The places are vacant. I am a live catch on the hook. But no one answers the phone nor returns my calls. I have called on weekends, weekdays, business days, weeknights, at quitting time, morning noon and night. I googled the number; apparently it's a cell.

I even looked one property up on the city's website. Owner lives out of town; I sent him a nice letter asking did he want to rent the place or what?

Grrrr.....

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Part II...

I expand my horizons and ride around the NE side to investigate. Wow, Belknap's, keep it a secret! Nice place you got there!

So I write down addresses, descriptions, and phone numbers on several likely suspects, and I shoot 'em with my digicam so I can try to remember which one was what.

One phone number keeps appearing again and again. It's not a commercial sign, no RPOA or RentGR affiliation. *I call and leave a message. Repeat from * five times now.

What is this? The places are vacant. I am a live catch on the hook. But no one answers the phone nor returns my calls. I have called on weekends, weekdays, business days, weeknights, at quitting time, morning noon and night. I googled the number; apparently it's a cell.

I even looked one property up on the city's website. Owner lives out of town; I sent him a nice letter asking did he want to rent the place or what?

Grrrr.....

Veloise:

You can get a great little house for a steal these days -- in a great neighborhood like Riverside Gardens. Build equity, kid. E-Q-U-I-T-Y. The interest rates are still decent.

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Or you can buy my neighbor's house here in Fulton Heights just East of Fuller. :) I think he's asking too much though.

-nb

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