November 29, 2023

COVID-19 has made people much more cautious about doing anything in person.

It’s also been a bit of a gold mine for scammers who use people’s health concerns to pull fast ones in a variety of areas.

Like rental housing.

Thomas, a Calgary resident, says his son – who is attending BCIT in Burnaby – is now stuck in a bad rental situation after a scummy landlord pulled a bait-and-switch scam on the family.

Thomas had been looking all summer at Burnaby rentals near BCIT, but found most of them were too expensive for what they offered (welcome to the Metro Vancouver rental market, sir, it’s wild stuff).

Then one day he found a place near Lougheed SkyTrain station that was far away from the school, but at least on a transit line.

“The photos looked really good,” Thomas said. “It was a one-bedroom basement suite that was older but in good shape. And the rent was really affordable compared to other places I saw. It was supposed to be just for my son in the suite. The truth turned out differently.”

Thomas arranged everything by remote and put down a deposit. But when his son arrived to pick up the keys, the situation was different. First of all, the place didn’t look at all like the photos. Oh, and there was another person living in the basement suite, which was actually two bedrooms.

“It was so dirty and dark,” said Thomas, who was horrified after his son sent him photos of the place. “My son was confused that someone else was living there…

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