Toronto Police issue warning about rental scam at Toronto's notorious ICE condos
Looking to rent a place at the famously raucous ICE Condominium complex in downtown Toronto? Good luck, friend — You are an exceptionally brave person, if not naive or foolish.
These addresses, while located ideally for tourists just steps from the Rogers Centre in Toronto's South Core neighbourhood, are those of the two-tower residential complex that has been making headlines in recent years for its high volume of "ghost hotels," frequent shootings and other unsettling events.
Police warned in a release issued Friday afternoon that a rental scam involving the site has been taking place, though ICE is hardly alone in that regard.
Public Safety Alert, Rental Fraud Scams https://t.co/kZ2FG3RwXp— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) October 1, 2021
According to TPS, rental advertisements are being placed on Kijiji for rental units at 12 and 14 York Street.
"The suspect and victim correspond via phone and text to discuss the property. The suspect meets with the victim at the rental location," reads the release. "The victim is shown a property and the suspect acts as an agent of the property owner."
But — twist! — the suspect is actually a short-term renter who's booked the unit temporarily only to access the property.
"The victim signs what they believe to be a valid rental agreement and then sends a deposit via an electronic money transfer. Once the money transfer is received, the suspect no longer returns calls or messages and blocks the victim's phone number," warn police.
"The suspect uses a variety of names when advertising as a rental agent or owner of the property."
Short-term rental guests have been causing headaches (and sometimes worse) for actual residents of the ICE condos for years, according to people who live there.
Management has vowed to crack down on the problem, but residents who spoke to blogTO in recent months say that Airbnb party folk continue to terrorize the complex.
"Currently, under 10 per cent of units are registered to conduct short-term rentals," wrote the condo's Board of Directors in a statement published last month.
"We continue to deter non-compliant short-term rentals with ongoing monitoring, access control, a reward program for people who report illegitimate hosts, and mutual cooperation with the City of Toronto."
Whatever measures they're taking, they don't seem to have stopped ghost hotel-users from doing shady things (such as, you know, conducting rental scams, in the building).
In light of the scam, Toronto Police are warning all members of the public that they should "be mindful of signing any rental agreement and/or sending deposits" and only "rent through legitimate agents that can be thoroughly checked."
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