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Rental Scams on the Rise

Rental Scams on the Rise

Local Startup is Fighting Back

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ~~~~~  May 4, 2021  (LSN)  With more and more people renting their homes online due to tight lockdown restrictions, rental scams are way up. Scammers have stepped up their efforts to prey on the vulnerable and are stealing rent money from those who can least afford it. Posting fake ads on classified platforms like Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace, those in need of a home unwittingly put down deposits on homes that don’t exist or aren’t for rent.

Rent Panda founders, Richard and Hart Togman, experienced these problems first hand, and after speaking with hundreds of tenants and landlords, decided to build a first of its kind website dedicated to rental housing. Mission #1 is safety. The Rent Panda team visits properties to verify that it is indeed a real listing and available for rent - along with taking professional photos for those listings. This service is completely free for tenants and landlords. Rent Panda can afford to bring trust and confidence back to the rental market by offering landlords a variety of paid services such as running credit checks on applicants, property management and leasing agent services. The team is also working on partnerships with industry leaders to offer secure ways to pay rent, get verified bank checks, verify profiles and connect landlords with trusted contractors.

Waterloo Regional Police public information officer Const. André Johnson says the pandemic “has left people more susceptible to online scams and fraudsters are taking advantage of that"1and Rent Panda is the only business in the market looking out for the safety and security of both tenants and landlords. Offering services such as property verifications, secure messaging, background checks, digital references and standardized application forms help protect the data, privacy and safety of both sides of the market in an industry where there is a lot of mistrust between landlords and tenants.

Originally launched in Thunder Bay, Rent Panda has quickly spread to Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. Making the leap from remote northern Ontario to Canada’s tech hub was a big challenge for this small startup. With a great fan base of renters and a boost from local investors, Rent Panda is poised to grow rapidly and compete in a hot proptech space that is often dominated by big American companies like Zillow.

Co-Founder Richard Togman explains, “despite the challenges of taking on big American tech and working in a challenging rental market we love our work. We strongly believe every renter deserves a great place to call home and by providing the tools that landlords and tenants need to rent in comfort and with confidence, we can be a part of making that happen.”

1 CBC News · Posted: Mar 09, 2021 4:03 PM ET | Last Updated: March / https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/rental-scam-waterloo-region-police-1.5942697

 

About Rent Panda

Richard Togman & Hart Togman founded Rent Panda in 2017 in Thunder Bay, with the vision of changing the way people rent homes. Now the team has expanded to the tri-city area (Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge and the region), with a newly launched platform and a passionate group of rental experts who will not stop until they make renting a home as comfortable as living in one. 

#LSN_TBay  #LSN_Econ  #LSN_PublicSafety

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