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Beware of Rental Scams

My neighbor called me yesterday and said she was trying to find info on a San Luis Obispo rental she saw advertised on a rental site (not Craigslist). There was a phone number for a Dennis Motta which went to someone in Texas that didn’t know who Dennis Motta was. The rental was for a condo on Ella Street in San Luis Obispo. My neighbor has 2 daughters going to Cal Poly next year and thought this sounded like a good rental. She thought the phone number had been mistyped in the ad.

The condo on Ella street in the ad is new construction. I searched the tax records for her and couldn’t find a Dennis Motta owning any real estate in SLO County. I then looked up the MLS records and this particular condo is Pending Sale, so there isn’t even an owner yet (other than the developer).

My neighbor sent an email and below is the reply she received from There are a lot of red flags in the email, the biggest is the claim that he owns the property since it’s still in escrow.

This appears to be a similar scam to a Craiglist one. Crooks will take a property they find for sale and then put a rental ad for it, try to receive money for it, and rip-off the renter. BEWARE!

“Hello Tenant,

Thanks for your email and interest in the property. I personally own the property and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer that made me and my wife to leave the property and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, We are here in west Africa, our new house an d also with the keys and documents of the house, we try to look for an agent that we can give this documents before we left but could not see and we are as well as don’t want our property to be used any how in our present that is why we took it along with us. I and my wife came over to West Africa for a missionary work, so i hope you will promise us to take very good care of the house. kindly get back to me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home. The rent fee is included all the utilities . I am looking forward to hear from you ASAP so that i can forward you an application form to fill out and discuss on how to get the property for rent.

God bless you”

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile