Is your Yellowknife home part of an online rental scam?

Homes in Yellowknife's Niven Lake as the sun sets on a July evening in 2021
Homes in Yellowknife's Niven Lake on a July evening in 2021. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

“I had someone come to my house last night wanting to see the rental property prior to putting a deposit down. My place isn’t for rent.”

This week, Yellowknife resident Beverley Jones discovered her home is being listed for rent online in an apparent attempt to extract money from people desperate to find somewhere to live.

Jones – we’ve changed her name, as she works in a real estate-related industry and sought anonymity given the connection to her job – only found out when a prospective renter appeared at her door, just off Magrum Crescent in Range Lake, asking to look around.

“We have a rental agreement and everything,” the woman at the door said.



“I looked at the rental agreement. It was legit, it had all the bells and whistles,” said Jones, who is familiar with such documents through her work.

“She cried, a lot. I said, ‘Don’t give them any money. This is a scam. They are scamming you.'”

Scams targeting renters can be particularly successful when the housing market is tight. For years, now, Yellowknife has been a tough place to find somewhere to rent.

People moving from out of town may find the process so vexing that when they happen upon a property that’s magically still available and fits their budget, they are prepared to put down a deposit without even seeing it in person, to make sure they don’t lose out.



The scammer takes the deposit and disappears, leaving the renter to discover only when they arrive that they have been duped and have nowhere to go.

The scam is made easier by the nature of websites that allow anyone to list property for rent.

Cabin Radio found Jones’ Range Lake property listed on RentCanada and clicked the “make an inquiry” button next to the listing.

Yellowknife rental listings as shown on a rentals website
Yellowknife rental listings as shown on a rentals website.

Doing so provided no information about who was listing the property. We filled out the form, asking whether the home was still available for rent, and hit submit.

Within 30 minutes, the listing had disappeared.

Jones says she was advised by RCMP to contact a national fraud centre, who in turn told her to call the companies allowing the listings on their websites. Her property has now also been taken down from several of those websites, she said, each listing boasting a range of photos that look nothing like her home.

“I know that rental units in this town are hard to find. But to prey on people like this? It really pisses me off,” she said.

“This poor woman was bawling her eyes out on my doorstep.”



The same scam happens nationwide.

Douglas Kwan, of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, last year told BNN Bloomberg there are a few things you can do if you’re trying to rent in Yellowknife – or anywhere – and want to avoid this happening to you:

  • Don’t agree to any payment before you can inspect the property
  • Be wary of anyone who only wants to communicate by email or text
  • Ask for a video meeting or live video tour of the property if you can’t be there in person

And if you’re a Yellowknife property owner, maybe check the likes of RentCanada,, and other websites once in a while. If you see your home listed in error, contact the website to have a false listing removed.