QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
Recently, I placed an advertisement in the paper for a home to rent. Someone claiming to be a lawyer called me and gave me the numbers of two women with houses to view. These two women both told me, that ‘lawyer’ told them he buys houses to rent out. The houses are real nice, but it seems the lawyer had not started any of the buying process yet. I asked him for a written contract with terms/conditions and so on to sign out our agreement. I do not want to move before a year after I have moved in. Although he says this was a good idea, he simply refuses. He is now calling me and threatening to give the house I chose over to someone else, if I do not pay him the first rent plus a security deposit.
TRESPONSE: Dear Adrianna,
Under no circumstances should you give this ‘lawyer’ your money. It seems to be a scam, whether he is a lawyer or not, and I don’t think he is. Otherwise it would be sad. There are several red flags.
Both sellers have been clear in stating that this ‘lawyer’ has not started the buying process with either of them. Both buyer and seller must agree in writing on any terms regarding a house being sold/bought before any action can be taken. Renting the house is among the top terms or conditions that must be in the written sale agreement usually drafted at the buying/selling process of a house in Jamaica. However, it seems that in this case, no agreement is even made, nor monies even passed over. Although the full money does not have to be passed over, at least a percentage, and this amount is usually stipulated in the sale agreement also must be paid.
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