When searching for housing in San Francisco it is important to be cautious of scams. 

Check out our flyer on avoiding scams and red flags.  If you do end up getting scammed, you can contact the San Francisco County District Attorney's Office to report it. 

Video on scams 

View the Fair Housing Act for legal information. A tenant or a prospective tenant can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if a possible violation of their rights occurred. You must file the complaint within one year of the alleged discrimination.

Scam ExampleWhy this is a scam 

  • Stock photo image
  • Rent is extremely below average - the average rent for a one bedroom in SF is about $2,600 - $3,600

What is a Rental Scam? 

Rental Scams happen when would-be tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property. In reality, the property does not exist, has already been rented out, or has been rented to multiple victims at the same time. 

Red Flags

  • Under market value
  • Stockphoto images
  • All inclusive (e.g. pets allowed, furnished, all utilities included in rent, etc.) 
  • You are asked to wire money for any reason
  • The email is not the company name 

Helpful Tips

  • Know the market value of SF
  • Never deal with or send cash or a cashier's check 
  • Meet with the landlord in person
  • See the apartment in person before signing a lease or transferring funds
  • Speak with current tenants if possible 

Note: People may ask for an Application Fee when you apply. The average cost of an application fee is $35, and it is possible you may be required to pay this before applying. An application fee does not mean it is a scam.