toronto rent scam

Kijiji removes ad seeking renter to pay $1K for a literal closet in Mississauga

A 25-square-foot walk-in closet could be a major selling point for someone looking to rent an apartment in Toronto, where space is limited and cute clothes beckon from every other storefront window.

For $1,000 a month, a pad with a sizable closet would be a steal — one worth commuting back and forth from Mississauga for, surely, in some cases.

But without a bedroom, a bathroom or any other space in which to live freely outside of that 25 square feet, how much is said closet really worth?

One apparent local landlord put the price tag at a cool grand when listing a literal closet inside their condo unit on Kijiji for rent, promising "free, unlimited internet" and the inclusion of all utilities.

"25ft sq space for rent - Port Credit - water view. $1,000," read the now-deleted ad, posted online this weekend. "Shared bathroom, kitchen, living area and balcony... Immediate start."

toronto rent scam

A decent-sized closet does not a bedroom make. Image via Kijiji.

The listing blew up online for its ridiculousness after being shared to Reddit, prompting a flurry of outrage, jokes, and skepticism over the ad's veracity, noting that the closet appears to be inside a Port Credit hotel.

"Pretty sure this is a prank post to get some outrage calls," wrote one Redditor. "Is it a scam, or is someone trolling?" wrote another.

Comments from others suggest it may not have been a prank (though scam hasn't been ruled out.)

"Person's phone number is in the ad, I called it just now and sounds like a young person in their 20s," wrote one commenter. "They are literally looking for a roommate where the person will sleep in the closet and it basically will only fit a bed he said. Absolutely pathetic people are these days."

toronto rent scam

An example of the "water view" that someone could see from the unit's shared balcony, but not from their rented closet. Image via Kijiji.

Whatever the case, people reported the sketchy listing to Kijiji in big numbers, and the eBay-owned classified ads giant wasn't having it.

"Kijiji takes all claims of fraud or deception extremely seriously. Kijiji has a dedicated Community Support team and a variety of technologies in place that are devoted to spotting fraudulent or misleading activity. We also rely on reports from our user community to help flag questionable content on site," said Kijiji Canada in a statement to blogTO.

"In this particular case, the referenced listing was removed as it was identified as illegitimate. The ad was also contrary to room rental requirements as outlined by the Ontario Human Rights Commission."

When asked what could get a post deemed illegitimate, Kijiji Canada said that "the ad was identified as inauthentic, meaning very likely to be fake or a prank."

"Simultaneously, there were serious concerns from the Kijiji community that the living conditions portrayed in the listing were unlawful."

I mean... right?

toronto rent scam

Not much more than a bed, if that, could fit into this $1,000 rental property. Image via Kijiji.

Fortunately, nobody was duped into sending the original poster $1,000 for an apparent closet rental — but not everyone has been so lucky when it comes to securing a place in Toronto.

Reports of rental scams have been rampant in recent years, prompting police and experts to issue multiple warnings about fraudulent landlords.

"The well-being of our community is our top priority and Kijiji encourages any victims of fraud or monetary loss to file a report with their local police department," says Kijiji Canada.

"When it comes to renting property on Kijiji, our guidance to our users is to exercise caution and to research the situation carefully. We provide additional resources to our users on our Help Desk, including information about how to avoid rental scams when using Kijiji or transacting online."

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