Where Rental Scams Are Most Prevalent

House in Mouse Trap

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As more consumers go apartment hunting once again, they need to make sure they’re not getting duped in renting units that aren’t really up for lease. As the rental market heats up, this kind of scam is reemerging.

The worst time for rental scam losses is in the summer, according to a new analysis from ApartmentGuide.

Some scammers pretend to show homes to collect a deposit from a potential tenant, even though they have no legal authority to rent out a unit.

ApartmentGuide analyzed nearly 2,000 rental scams reported from Feb. 13, 2015, to May 31, 2021, to identify where scams are the most common.

Idaho showed the highest risk for rental scams. The state has been attracting many new residents. In 2020, the state had the largest percentage of people move there, with a 70% inward migration rate, compared with just 30% outbound. Rental costs have been rising in the state, jumping nearly 58% year over year, from $1,196 to $1,889.

The top five states for rental scams are all located in the West. The states that showed the most risk for rental scams are in:

  1. Idaho
  2. Hawaii
  3. California
  4. Colorado
  5. Oregon

However, half of the cities with the most rental scams reported were in California or New York, according to ApartmentGuide’s analysis. The following cities had the most reported rental scams:

1. Los Angeles

2. Boise, Idaho

3. San Francisco

4. San Diego

4. Phoenix

5. New York

5. Columbus, Ohio

5. Brooklyn, N.Y.

Meanwhile, the states with the fewest rental scams per capita are Iowa, Arkansas, South Dakota, Connecticut, and Wyoming.