Chesterton Tribune



Police getting more reports of rent-to-own scam

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Another Dunelander has filed a complaint against a former local realtor, alleging that the realtor signed him to a rent-to-own agreement on a property which was later foreclosed, Chesterton Police said.

According to police, on March 26 a man reported that, in February 2011, he entered into a rent-to-own agreement with the realtor on a property in the 2200 block of Wood Street. The man advised that he’s been paying $1,355 per month, with 5 percent supposedly going to the ownership portion.”

Except that in September 2013 the man was informed by letter that the property had been foreclosed on, police said.

The man continues to reside at the property, police added.

The man at this point simply wanted the transaction documented. To date he’s paid a total of $48,870 under the rent-to-own agreement.

The CPD has taken two similar reports, both involving the same realtor. In the first case, a Liberty Township woman advised that, in November 2010, she signed a rent-to-own agreement with the realtor for a residence in the 200 block of Talon Drive. Under that agreement, the woman made monthly payments of $1,610.25 to the realtor. Then, at some later time not specified by the CPD report, she began receiving notices “that the house was in foreclosure.”

The woman tried to contact the realtor but “he would not return her calls or e-mails,” she advised.

The woman moved out of the house in September 2013.

She reported a financial loss of $40,000.

Meanwhile, a Porter man also gave the CPD essentially the same story about the same realtor. In January 2008 he began to rent a home--for $1,200 a month--in the 600 block of 23rd Street, after signing a rent-to-own agreement with the realtor.

More than two years later, in April 2010, the man was notified by the Porter County Sheriff’s Police “that the property was foreclosed and that he had to leave immediately.”

The man reported a financial loss of $20,000.

All reports have been forwarded to the CPD’s Detective Bureau for further investigation.


Posted 4/2/2014