How to Spot a Furnished Housing Scam
Each year at Corporate Apartment Specialists, we receive numerous calls from prospective guests who booked furnished housing in advance from other housing providers, only to find out the host canceled on them on short notice, the furnished apartment never existed, or the housing was radically different than what was initially promised. Sadly, we have seen an increase in corporate apartment scams over the last several years.
We’ve put together some tips below in hopes that it will help guide you in your search for a trustworthy corporate housing provider.
Tip 1: Consider Your Source
We most often see last minute host cancelations from platform based furnished housing providers. Even if you are booking on a well-known platform, make sure to check the fine print regarding the host’s ability to cancel your stay. Similarly, platform hosts with few ratings or low ratings are much more likely to cancel your stay before you arrive.
A more sinister scam occurs when a host collects money for a furnished house that does not exist and then goes radio silent, leaving the guest without a place to stay and out of pocket financially with no ability to recover their money. Steer away from sending money to an individual rather than a company, or to a company that does not have a robust website or a verifiable business address.
At Corporate Apartment Specialists, all reservations are backed by legally binding leases which include street addresses in order to provide our guests with the peace of mind knowing their reservation cannot be cancelled or moved to a different location.
Tip 2: Look For Reviews
A reliable corporate housing provider should have multiple reviews spanning a significant course of time. Reviews that sound or look like one another or are posted all at one time with long periods in between are not always legitimate. Google and Yelp are great places to check to make sure you are booking with both a reputable and quality furnished housing provider.
We work hard at Corporate Apartment Specialists to leave a great impression. Our corporate housing clients have been generous enough to take the time to review us online so those searching for furnished housing can reference previous guests’ experiences.
Tip 3: Ask for an Address and Photos
Ask the furnished apartment provider for a property address. You can use the address to check out the street view on Google Maps or a similar application to make sure a building exists at that address and the area looks like a place where you would be comfortable staying.
Corporate housing providers often have photos of the exact apartment (or a similar unit in the same building). Be sure to ask if photos are of the exact apartment as some providers use photos from other locations or photos of the apartment community’s model unit which are not always representative of the apartment you are agreeing to rent.
Even if your apartment requires the corporate housing provide to start a new lease with the apartment community specifically for your stay, a reputable provider like our company will provide transparency and context. You may even be able to set up a virtual tour of the vacant unit so you can feel secure in finalizing your booking with a corporate housing company that cares.
Tip 4: Avoid Too Good to Be True Pricing
Most scams involve prices that are too good to be true. While pricing for corporate housing can be surprisingly expensive, ask yourself if the price makes sense based on the location you are looking to stay and the quality of apartment you have selected. Remember the corporate housing provider is paying for rent, community fees, all utilities, Wi-Fi, cable, furniture, housewares, the vacancy when the apartment sits open between renters, as well as their staffs’ salaries to make the apartment available to you. Furnished apartments that are available for not much more than the rental rate for an unfurnished twelve-month lease term are almost always a scam.
Too good to be true pricing can also be more minor, such as hidden fees which make the daily or nightly rate much higher than what was initially advertised. At Corporate Apartment Specialists, our prices are all inclusive unless you add additional services or items for your apartment.
Tip 5: Call the Provider on the Phone
There is no substitute for calling the furnished housing provider before you book your apartment. Corporate apartments are an expensive decision to make and will greatly impact the quality of your visit. It is worth several minutes of your time to make sure the company answers the phone or promptly returns your call. Ask a few questions to make sure the person you speak with is knowledgeable about the furnished housing option you have called about and interested in helping you make a good decision for your needs.
If you are unsure about a corporate housing option you are considering, please call us so we can offer more in depth suggestions for your particular circumstance.