With median home prices in Ada County hovering around $525,000 the dream of homeownership seems distant. It's not just home prices that are soaring. Rental prices are climbing too.

At the beginning of June, a friend of mine texted me "Rental prices in Boise are criminal." Her lease was set to expire at the end of the month and the leasing office informed her that the rent on her 585 square foot, one bedroom apartment would be going up nearly $400 per month if she signed another seven month lease or nearly $800 per month if she went month-to-month. She ended up moving back in with her mom while she and some new roommates desperately searched for an apartment or rental house that would comfortably fit the four of them.

While I was laying out by the pool at my own complex the very next week, two of my neighbors told me that it had been nice getting to know me and that they would be moving at the end of the month because our leasing office had raised their rent to price tag they were no longer comfortable with. As far as I know, we live in one of the most affordable complexes in Southeast Boise meaning finding a better deal on rent would be tough.

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Unfortunately scammers know that Boise residents are becoming desperate to find an apartment that won't leave them worrying about living paycheck to paycheck and are taking advantage these folks when they're at their lowest point. In fact, when it comes to the most rental scams per capita, Apartmentguide.com places Idaho in the #1 spot.

When they broke it down further into the 974 cities that reported rental scams, Boise ranked #2 behind Los Angeles.

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If you're in the same position as my friend or my former neighbors, here are some red flags you should look out for when looking for your next apartment according to USA.gov:

  • The advertised price is much lower than similar properties (In June the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Boise was $1,098 and a two bedroom was $1303)
  • Ads for the property are full of grammatical or spelling errors, use uncommon spellings of common words
  • The owner or agent can't meet with you in person or provide a real time virtual tour
  • You're asked to sign the lease and send money before seeing the property
  • The owner or agent unusually high pressure

If you think you're being scammed, you can report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission. 

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