Super Bowl Rental Nightmares

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super bowlIt isn't bad enough that Mother Nature shamed Dallas/Fort Worth Super Bowl week with one of those rare but rugged ice storms, temperatures in the teens, and a thick blanket of fluffy snow covering icy streets and sidewalks. Rolling home blackouts forced us to buy electricity from Mexico. Even worse, some DFW homeowners are getting royally ripped off by shady home rental companies.

Take Fort Worth resident Wanda McDaniel. Since she owns a 4-bedroom house with a big backyard and swimming pool, and since the house isn't too far from Cowboys Stadium, Wanda decided that renting her house for the Super Bowl might be a good idea.

After all, rental signs proliferating around town were telling homeowners they could make thousands leasing their home for the big weekend. In fact, someone planted one of those signs right in Wanda's front yard. As she pulled it up to throw it away, her husband said, why don't you call that number?


The number went to a company called World Class Lodging, located in Phoenix. The company wanted $1,500 to market her home. McDaniel said that was too much and negotiated it down to $800. The company sent a photographer out to take pictures of Wanda's house and left. And that was the last they heard of him.

But when McDaniel got her credit card bill, surprise, surprise, She found they had charged her the $1,500 -– exactly what she had told the representative on the phone she did not want to pay.

Local station CBS 11 News, who reported the story originally, tried to reach World Class Lodging, on Wanda's behalf, but

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found the phone disconnected. They sent a news crew to Phoenix to find the company, and confront them, but at the address all they found was empty space.

Experts say it's the same story all over:companies like this form just to rip off homeowners during events like the Super Bowl, when homeowners think they can make a quick buck off leasing their house.

One homeowner says he paid $1,500 to a company called Florida Super Bowl Rental Dot Com, against which he has filed a complaint, when they failed to find him a Super Bowl tenant or refund the "100% refundable" fee. There are complaints on file against the company are from other homeowners who say the company did nothing more than take pictures of their homes, then post them on line, for $1500.

John Riggins, director of the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau, says homeowners need to beware of companies that prey on homeowners with this business model. The BBB has tracked this behavior in most major cities hosting sports events. The companies ask for advance fees, then disappear. Choose a company that has a proven track record and ask for references. Above all remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Thankfully, Wanda McDaniel's credit card company came through with a refund, so she was not out $1500.

"I should have been more careful," she said.

Real estate reporter & blogger Candy Evans is an award-winning, Dallas-based real estate reporter, blogger, and consultant. She's the gal who brought House Porn to the Bible Belt! Read more at SecondShelters.com. Send story ideas and tips to CandyEvans@secondshelters.com.

For full Super Bowl XLV coverage, visit Fanhouse.com.

Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estateguides that can help:

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