More would-be renters said Wednesday they found out their lease was no good when they tried to move into a house in southwest Miami-Dade.
Giselle Santa Lucci was one of them. She saw an ad in the newspaper on Feb. 18 for a rental at 2121 SW 151st Place. She said she thought it was a bargain and met with Yamilet Gonzalez, the supposed homeowner, for a showing – and gave her almost $3,000 to rent the house.
But later, when Santa Lucci came by alone to check out the home, she found someone else moving in, she said. That’s when she realized she’d been had.
Carlos Leon told NBC 6 on Tuesday how he and his family lost $4,500 in a rental scheme at the same address. When they went to move in their keys didn’t work, and minutes later three more families showed up to move into the same house.
Leon said they learned that Gonzalez was not the owner, but a renter.
Now, more than five families are accusing Gonzalez of passing herself off as the owner, and taking thousands of dollars from them. The real homeowner, Josefa Hernandez, said that Gonzalez moved out of the house, bouncing rent checks, a few weeks ago.
Gonzalez has changed her cell phone number, so NBC 6 was unable to contact her.
Miami-Dade Police are investigating the allegations.
Rogert de Leon, a Realtor with Century 21, has seen many such rental schemes.
“It’s very important to get an identification with a picture ID, so you can see that that person that is in front of you is the person in the picture, and that name is the name on public records,” he said.
He suggested people check out the property records available on miamidade.gov, and consider renting through a professional.