Here’s a new twist on foreclosure scams, and proof that every crisis creates opportunities for those with initiative and imagination.
With foreclosures rising, many neighborhoods have vacant houses with absentee landlords — that is, banks and lending institutions — who don’t visit their properties very often.
In fact, the number of vacant homes in the United States is now at a record 2.28 million — up from 2.18 million in the same quarter last year — and still on the rise.
At the same time, the foreclosure crisis has greatly increased the number of people who are looking for housing to rent.
The banks usually don’t want to bother with rental issues, so desirable housing goes unused even as the demand increases.
Two enterprising men from Orange County, California — Anthony Marshall Friday and Alexander Braslavsky — apparently came up with an ingenious solution to this problem — and a potentially profitable one.
Here’s the idea:
Why not rent out vacant foreclosed houses as if they belonged to you?
Then you would be providing people with places to live, cutting down on eyesores and the crime that often afflicts foreclosed properties, and make a handsome profit for yourself.
Of course, you could get caught…
The Orange County Register reports that:
“Two men have been arrested for allegedly posing as landlords of homes that they don’t own and collecting thousands of dollars from unsuspecting renters. Police Sgt. Keith Blackburn says officers found 34-year-old Alexander Braslavsky and 38-year-old Anthony Marshall Friday at a vacant foreclosed home in the city of Carlsbad. The two Orange County men are accused of breaking into the house and listing it for rent on the Web site Craigslist.”
“Police found paperwork at the house that showed the men had collected several thousand dollars in rent and security deposits from people who thought they were renting the home. Blackburn says police learned that the men pulled the same scam days earlier at another vacant house.”
The report didn’t say what will happen to the people who “rented” the houses — or whether the banks will let them stay so long as they pay the rent.