When my client put their mid-town condo on the rental market just after the start of the pandemic, we were hopeful that we would be able to find the right tenant. As the city went into lockdown, people stopped looking for places to move and there was very little interest in this gorgeous and accessible one-plus-one bedroom condo.
After a couple of months of very little activity, the owner wanted to list the condo on Kijiji to find a tenant. Having heard some stories of some bad experiences on the free listing site, I tried to discourage my client from using it, but in the end, decided to give it a try. We had several suspicious and spammy calls, but no qualified tenants.
I remembered the story of someone I know who decided to list their secondary unit over their garage on Kijiji. One day, a nice young man showed up on their doorstep with bags in hand, ready to move in and asking for keys! A scammer had copied their ad and posted it themselves, had the tenant send them first and last months rent via e-transfer, and complete a lease agreement over email as well. The tenant showed up ready to move in. The scammer was never found and the “tenant” lost their deposit.
My client and I eventually found the right tenant for their condo through another agent referral. But the lesson remains: beware of sites offering free listings. You may not find the quality tenant you are looking for and you may have a stranger show up on your doorstep, ready to move in!