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‘I got suckered’: victim of 'discount' Burnaby rental scam warns others

HIgh Burnaby rents make a discount offer hard to turn down
This scam warning was posted by someone earlier this year about a rental unit in Burnaby.

Terry likes to think he’s a pretty savvy person when it comes to financial matters.

But his desperation to find a new place to live got the better off him.

“I got suckered,” said Terry, who didn’t want his last name used because he’s frankly embarrassed. “I just want other people to not fall victim.”

Terry needed to find a new place to live quick and saw a Burnaby apartment listing near Brentwood that was too good to be true because the rent seemed below what other one-bedroom apartments were going for.

Terry was told by the person he contacted through Craigslist that there were multiple people all competing for the same apartment and so he needed to make a decision based on the photos submitted.

The person also said they would give him a “discount” because they “felt sorry” for Terry.

“I was desperate so I went against the alarm bells I was hearing and sent a deposit,” Terry said.

It turned out to be a fake listing.

This shouldn’t really be a surprise. Vacancy rates aren’t good and Burnaby rents are some of the highest in Canada – so when someone offers you a deal, it’s hard to resist.

Burnaby came in ninth on a recent national list for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home at $1,656 and third for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,189. 

Year over year, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in Burnaby is up 8.9 per cent and up 6.5 per cent for a two-bedroom.

“You believe the owner or landlord is showing you the property you are interested in renting,” says the Vancouver Police Department in a statement I found on the issue. “Or maybe you live elsewhere and are unable to view the property in person before agreeing to rent it. You pay a deposit, but when you show up to move in, the property was never available for rent and you are out your deposit. If the price is too good to be true, or they ask for cash only, a cash security deposit, or money to be wired, that should be a red flag.”


  • don't send money to anyone you have not met in person and/or for property you have not seen in person
  • ask for identification from anyone showing you the property and write down their licence plate if they arrive by car
  • search for owner information in the Land Titles office to confirm you are dealing with the owner

I really feel for all of those folks out there looking for a place to live. It’s hard enough without scumbags taking advantage of them.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.