When Leasing A Shore House, It's Renter Beware - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

When Leasing A Shore House, It's Renter Beware

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Call it a Memorial Day mix-up. Some young women, who had rented a shore house, were forced to scramble to find somewhere else to stay.

When it comes to leasing a place, it's renter beware, FOX 29's Stacey Stauffer reported.

"I was freaking out. I was furious," said Nicole Larocco.

She thought she and her friends had planned a Memorial Day Weekend to remember.

"We figure we were right by the beach, we were going to have a great time. And, then we come down, and then we're panicking because we don't have a place to say," she said.

The 23-year-old from Bellmawr says when she arrived at the Wildwood condo they had rented, the landlord told her that despite paying a $500 deposit the girls couldn't stay because some of them were under the age of 25. It's a requirement Larocco says she was never warned about even having stayed there before.

When the girls asked for their deposit money back, they say they were told they could pick it up after the holiday.

"It really shocks me how this happens year after year after year," said Debra Donahue, of Cabrera Realty.

The real estate agent says because of the Internet she gets more calls each year from renters left scrambling because of unscrupulous landlords, who often get thousands of dollars for rentals that either don't exist or have been booked by more than one person.

"Then, the landlord, or some representative of the landlord, is never able to be found," Donahue said. "They can't contact them by phone. They can't contact them by email.

So, how do you avoid rental trouble? Well, experts say first don't wire money. And beware of landlords who only communicate via email and who don't accept credit cards for payment. Try to use a reputable real estate agent, and don't ever, ever send in a full payment without signing a lease agreement.

"When you put money down, I figured, the reservation has been made. It's yours. You're good," said Kelly Mahon, Lindenwold.

"What if we didn't have money to get a new place? I mean, thank God we did," Larocco said.

She and her friends eventually found another condo to rent.

They'll be back again next year, this time a bit savvier because of their experience, Stauffer reported.

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