LITTLETON, Colo. — It's hard enough finding an affordable apartment to rent in the Denver area, but even more difficult when the landlord you're trying to rent from isn't really the landlord.
Denver7 is looking into a sophisticated twist on an old rental scheme that left a woman from Denver out of a lot of money, even after she said she tried to do everything right.
Erin Chambers was searching for a new apartment that would be closer to her job in Littleton.
She was excited to find a place she really liked on Facebook.
"It had really cool wood floors that were different colors. I just wanted to be closer to my job, because right now I have a one-hour commute," Chambers said.
She said the apartment was about five minutes from her job. It had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a washer and dryer, and a nice backyard with a fire pit.
It was listed for $1,500 a month with utilities included. It's located in the 5000 block of South Grant Street.
"It's not something that was too good to be true, but not something that was outrageous either," she said.
Chambers decided to reach out to the man who was renting it.
"He had said that he owned the whole building, and he would be happy to walk me through it," Chambers said.
She said the man gave her a tour of the apartment twice in person and once virtually.
She ended up signing a lease electronically and paying $2,500 for the first month's rent and security deposit. She got a key and made sure it was working during the walk-through.
Chambers was attempting to be cautious during the process, even getting a copy of the man's ID. But when it came time to move in, that's when the excuses began.
"'Oh, you know, the cleaners aren't done,'" Chambers said was one of the excuses the man gave her. "'Oh, the sink is this, that, and the other.'"
Chambers said after getting the runaround, she decided to go for a visit herself.
"I went over and tried the door, the key to the door that I had and it didn't work, and so that's when I started getting suspicious," Chambers said.
She eventually went to the Littleton Police Department.
"It was definitely a crime against me, I think is how they put it, and that they would be looking into it," she said.
She'd soon find out, the supposed landlord had also given her a fake ID.
"The reason why I knew it was fake is because 'Santa Fe' on it was spelled wrong," she said.
Denver7 reached out to Littleton Police, and they confirmed they were investigating but could not provide us with any further information.
With only a short amount of time left on her current lease, Chamber hasn't been able to get her $2,500 back and is now left with no money and no place to live.
"I've been just trying to scramble, that's all the money that I had," she said.
She launched a GoFundMe to help raise money for another security deposit.
Editor's note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need we can address or have a story idea for our consumer investigates team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or or call (303) 832-7777. Find more Contact Denver7 stories here. You can also use the form below to request help from Jaclyn Allen and the Contact Denver7 Team.