MLB All-Star Game Draws Real-Estate Scammers to Valley
If a real estate company promises to rent your house to some out-of-towners for the upcoming MLB All-Star Game at a "too good to be true" price, the offer's probably bogus.
The Department of Real Estate announced this afternoon that one such profiteering company, Your Stay Accommodations, is getting investigated for swindling customers out of thousands of dollars. Not to mention its lack of an Arizona real estate license.
The investigation is a collaborative effort between the real estate department and the Arizona Attorney General's Office.
Appealing to the owners of some of the priciest homes in the Valley, the Phoenix-based company makes its money by offering leasing contracts to homeowners, promising to rent out their clients' homes to All-Star Game ticket holders for sky-high rental fees.
"It's part of the problem with the All-Star Game," Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne tells New Times. "With any big event like this, whether it be the All-Star Game or the Super Bowl, there's always going to be good guys and bad guys. People just need to know not to pay up front fees."
Last week, an investigator with the AG's Office spoke with Your Stay Accommodations' project manager Eric Brenton, who later that day turned over his company's standard invoice, contract, and advertising agreement showcasing upfront fees for potential renters to the tune of about $1,500.
The fees drain the pockets of potential renters with categories like "legal fees," (about $394), brochure fees (about $244), photography shoots (about $150), and background checks ($50).
The investigation targets Brenton, who's based in California, according to the report, and Phoenix-based Your Stay Accommodations employees Sharaud Ramey and Joshua Bleechington.
The Department of Real Estate says it is starting to see a rise in trick companies like Your Stay Accommodations, whose bling-enriched website boasts more than 52,000 hits to date.
"Unlicensed real estate activity in Arizona must be stopped," Judy Lowe, Department of Real Estate commissioner, says in a press release. "This is an example of a practice that harms the public. The Arizona Department of Real Estate observes a 'Zero tolerance' for this type of activity,"
A cease-and-desist order was issued today for all Your Stay Accommodations' rental operations.
If you think you've been a victim of a real estate scam, click here.