Spokane renters duped by fake apartment owner

Imagine paying first month’s rent and a security deposit for an apartment and never getting it. That happened to a mother and daughter. And they’re not the only ones.

Several people responded to an ad on Craigslist early in October for a lower South Hill apartment and even toured the unit. But when they wanted to move in, they found out it was all a lie. Now, they want legal action.

In the description on the real ad on Craigslist, the owner even gave a warning, writing "Note tenant in apt 2 is being evicted....do not talk to them or give them any $$ for renting apt." But unfortunately, some saw the wrong ad and lost money.

“When I found this place that says it will work with your credit and is only $625 a month I jumped on it,” says Al’ice Stewart, who lost out on nearly $2,000.

“I made plans to make address changes. I made changes on my pay stubs so I could get my W2s,” says Janet Grove. “I was really ecstatic.”

But their hopes were dashed. They didn't get the apartment and lost their payments. They say the man who gave them the tour of the apartment seemed legitimate.

“He had the keys to the apartment,” says Kathy Compton, Al’ice’s mother, who was apartment hunting with her. “He lived there and every single question we asked him he had the appropriate answer for.”

Janet actually got a key to the apartment she thought she was renting, a lease, and receipts, all signed.

“I had a lot of hope. Very desperate to have my own home and get back on my feet,” Janet says.

She has been living in a shelter since August. She found a job and worked 16-hour days to save up money.

“I put my heart and soul into this.”

Janet lost $1,300. The man she spoke to wasn't the owner. The real owner says that man was evicted from the apartment.

“I’ve never felt so taken advantage of right now actually,” Janet says.

KHQ reached out to that man using the phone number he gave to them and another number. Both were disconnected.

Janet is still working and has enough money saved up again. But finding a place is difficult for her.

“I just want a place to put my head down that I actually like and I want to be able to get back on my feet and get steady,” Janet says. “I really just...I want a place to call home again.”

A police report has been filed but that man hasn’t been charged yet. The owner of the property tells KHQ she plans to press charges too. 

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