Rental property scam: How to protect yourself

Family shows rental nightmare

"A week from Thanksgiving and a month from Christmas and you were going to make a worse situation for my family than what they were [already in]?" said Paul Twardzik, who is outraged to have his family back in a motel after almost giving all his money away for a fake rental property.

"This is our little miracle baby," Twardzik said.

The family was recently evicted after 3-year-old Jada had emergency surgery to remove a benign tumor.

"We’ve been looking for a home for the past month now, but it’s hard to get people to work with you," said Twardzik.

So when he found a rental and the said owner was willing to get them in the home...

"That’s great that’s perfect, that actually helps us get on our feet," Twardzik said.

But, Twardzik’s new hope would be shattered when he helped deputies bust Patricia Lamp for allegedly renting a property that she didn't own.

"It was kind of a slap in the face. It was heartbreaking, I couldn’t believe it...like how can people do this to you?" said Twardzik.

"This is actually the first instance I’ve heard of someone getting arrested," said Carl Stratton with Dennis Realty. He says there are ways for renters to protect themselves.

"They need to ask questions a lot of specific questions regarding the property and see if the owner of the property is really the owner," Stratton said.

Check with the property appraiser to confirm who actually owns the property, use a property management company, and never ever pay for anything in cash.

"Look for red flags ask about the condition of the property and maybe the condition of the roof or the age of the A/C and see if you can throw off the person," said Stratton.

"The viewers do need to be educated because it happened. I didn’t believe it. If there wasn’t people caring in my life, I would have got duped and been worse off than I am now," Twardzik said.

Now Twardzik is hunting again for a place his family and little Jada can lie their heads and call home.

Detectives say there could be more victims out there. If you've had dealings with Patricia Lamp contact the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

(© 2017 WTSP)


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