Landlords in the so-called 'scamming capital', Montego Bay, St James, have started to crack down on lottery scammers using their premises to conduct the illicit trade.
After perusing some classified advertisements for properties in western Jamaica, THE STAR observed that several homeowners now advertising their premises for rent have shelled out extra cash to ensure a prominent 'no scammers' note is included in their vacancy listing.
One landlord who advertised a one-bedroom flat in Norwood, St James, about two weeks ago, said he placed the 'no scammers' condition in this
listing because the scammers have become particularly crafty when renting places to operate.
"What they are doing now is using the women to get the place because if they come up front with you, they're not going to get it. People rent them places and it hard fi get them out the place. They use it as a base. So when you rent it to one, all six a them come inna the place," he said.
While the landlord did not mention being fearful of criminal charges, the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Acts, 2013 states that "The owner, occupier or any other person responsible for the management of any premises commits an offence where that owner, occupier or other person knowingly causes or knowingly permits the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence under this Act."
Meanwhile, the landlord, who has been renting his properties some three years now, said he easily identifies scammers by their tight pants below their buttocks, and bleached out faces. He explained that he has had multiple encounters with scammers trying to rent his place by using trickery.
"I agreed to pick up the girl [prospective tenant], and when me take a stock, is one of them [scammers] me see come on the bus with her. So me say plain and straight, there is no scammers allowed, and if you come by free will, you will leave by force," he said.
The landlord also relayed another instance in which a man he deemed to be a scammer came to his premises in the company of someone dressed in the uniform of a prominent hotel, hoping to land the apartment. However, he said they became antsy after the 'no scammer' condition was mentioned, promising to call back, but never did.
The Mayor of Montego Bay Homer Davis said lottery scamming remains a deep-seated issue in the city, despite the assiduous efforts of lawmen, and other entities.
"It comes with a particular type of behaviour that most landlord don't want at their place. These guys party all night and them play music aloud in their cars, and have a lot of people around them at times, and stuff like that. So, you don't want to put your good tenants through this type of behaviour," Davis said.
He admitted that the prevalence of the 'no scammers' notices might paint a negative picture of Montego Bay, but he notes that landlords reserve the right to stipulate who they accommodate on their premises.