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I saved for 2 years to finally buy my house

A WOMAN who saved for two years to buy her dream home was left scratching her head when she received an eviction notice just weeks later.

June Walker, 65, was thrilled when she finally got her hands on the keys to the $15,000 property in Detroit, Michigan, after setting aside most of her disability checks and living on the streets for years.

June Walker thought she had finally bought her dream home in 2021 for $15,000Credit: NBC News
The 65-year-old had been scammed by a fake real estate agentCredit: NBC News

The retiree moved into the space in 2019 and quickly made it his own.

In April 2021, she made her final payment on the lease, but received a heartbreaking letter informing June that the house was not hers.

“It had to be a mistake,” she told NBC News.

“I had bought the house. I had every receipt.

“I had the lease.

“You know, I’m 65 and you send people things like that that could give them a heart attack.”

It turns out that the man who negotiated her lease was not her property manager, but rather a con man.

“A large portion of clients will say they had no idea who they were paying,” Donovan McCarty, an attorney with the nonprofit Michigan Legal Services, told NBC News.

According to real estate and housing attorneys, one in ten people facing eviction are victims of rental fraud.

However, the perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.

I bought my own house – three days later it was sold out from under me, I only realized when I saw workmen on the site

“People have been getting away with this stuff for years, and they’re doing it because there’s no penalty,” said Ted Phillips, a Detroit housing attorney who revealed that his cases have been dismissed by prosecutors due to a lack of knowledge. proof.

The police are also trying to track down scammers, but these are ‘very complex’ and often use false names and numbers that make it difficult to build a case.

“We are doing everything we can to hold these individuals accountable,” said Police Chief Gerry Johnson Jr.

However, the June nightmare ended in April 2022 when an agreement filed in Detroit’s 36th District Housing Court blocked the eviction.

Boccafe LLC – a Florida-based real estate company – agreed to sell June the house for $45,000 thanks to a donation from an unnamed person who had read about her case.

“I’m thrilled,” June said.

“Hopefully this will open doors and help other people who are going through this, or prevent them from going through something like this.”

June reported her scam to police in November 2021, and police recently filed paperwork with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to issue an arrest warrant, a police spokesperson said.

A spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the order is under review and declined to comment further.

How to prevent rental fraud

Apartments.com has a section on its website to help renters avoid potential scams and fraud.

“You should always be attentive and vigilant before providing anyone with your personal information or sending a payment of any kind,” the page says.

“We work hard to provide our users with the latest, most comprehensive library of rental listings, but fraudsters are also doing everything they can to cheat you out of your hard-earned money.”

The website offers CoStar Verified Badges to listings submitted through well-known property management companies and also alerts users if they view a listing that has not been verified.

Apartments.com also asks users to be aware of common warning signs in advertisements, such as:

  • Rent offered below market price
  • Requests to transfer money
  • Requests to use another listing service or escrow account to transfer funds
  • Claim membership without a verified badge
  • Refusal to meet in person
  • Dramatic stories from landlords