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Ottawa family discovers ad for rental home was a fake

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An Ottawa family is out thousands of dollars after a townhouse they were set to move into turned out to have already been rented.

Jordan Zaid was supposed to get the keys for his in-laws new house this weekend, but the rental fell through after the person who he thought was the Realtor told him it was a scam.

"It was just a complete shock to me and the first thing I thought of was, 'how can we get our deposit back?'" he said.

It started when he responded to a listing on Facebook Marketplace for a four bedroom, four bathroom townhouse in Barrhaven listed by Bsv Liberty.

His mother-in-law went to view the property on June 12.

"The real estate agent looked exactly like they did on the sign outside the home, already had the door open for us and when we went into tour the house, they gave us a tour. Everything seemed fine," said Zaid.

A neighbour down the street says she wasn’t the only one to tour the property that day.

"We did see a lot of traffic," said Kristin Delahunty, who lives nearby. "There were probably about ten families in and out through the whole course of the day."

As it turns out, the person who was showing the home wasn’t the legitimate real estate agent on the listing and it was a fake showing.

Zaid says when he spoke to a neighbour, he was told they saw a locksmith truck earlier that day.

Jordan Zaid was supposed to get the keys for his in-law's new house this weekend, but the rental fell through after the person who he thought was a Realtor told him it was a scam. (Katelyn Wilson/CTV News Ottawa)

"They assumed the locksmith that was called was the one who ended up opening the door for them and they showed the house as if they had the key," said Zaid.

The property was originally listed on Realtor.ca by an agent with Details Realty in Stittsville, but the brokerage says that agent only showed the property once. The agent who Zaid believed he was speaking with also used the same name.

"Our brokerage has been running for 19 years. We have close to 100 salespeople. We’ve never had anything like this, so this was totally foreign and an absolute shock," said Richard Keirans, broker-of-record with Details Realty Inc.

CTV News reached out to three other realtors with properties listed by Bsv Liberty, including one in the Greater Toronto Area. The properties have since been deleted and all three say they’ve never heard of that name.

"It’s really hard to find a rental property and competition is very stiff, so that does make people more vulnerable," said Debra Wright, owner of Details Realty Inc.

Zaid says his in-laws are out $5,300 after the alleged agent requested an e-transfer to the landlord for the first and last months of rent.

Details Realty confirms the home is already legitimately rented.

"Her mom is a single mom. She works three jobs on her own and she supports her whole family and we just feel really bad because it’s a lot of money to put away for her," said Zaid.

The family has since started a GoFundMe in order to recoup the money to find a new place by July 1.

CTV News reached out to Bsv Liberty and the landlord listed on the fake lease agreement, but did not hear back. CTV also reached out to police, who did not respond before deadline.

Keirans says when it comes to protecting yourself, always ask for identification when you’re working with a Realtor.

He says an agent will never ask you to send money directly to a landlord or property manager. The money goes directly to the brokerage.

"You need to proceed with caution. We are warning our salespeople and our friends to be careful and never provide a deposit before viewing the property," Keirans said.

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