I recently met a nice couple from Europe who hope to stay here for the winter. The couple lost their $450 rent deposit to a thief. They did report it to the RCMP. I spoke to the RCMP, and was told this has been happening a lot. One officer mentioned he thought newcomers to Whistler are not reading the papers, which have had announcements about this problem.
The story: Day 1: My friends were walking through the village with a sign saying they needed a room to rent. A man (and his friend) walked up to the couple and the man said he had a room available to rent. The man said his name was Pete. After talking about the place to my friends, they exchanged phone numbers.
Later that afternoon, Pete phoned the couple back and arranged to meet them in front of the IGA to look at the place. Pete explained that he didn’t have the key because he had not moved in yet.
They walked from the IGA over to look at a property, and Pete described the inside to my friends in detail. Pete said he would get the key in the next few days.
They all walked back to the bank at Marketplace together. The female of the couple went inside to get cash from the bank machine for a deposit. The male stayed outside talking to Pete, and he asked Pete if he had picture ID. Pete explained that he did not have his wallet with him.
Pete did offer to give them a receipt for the deposit money, so my friends gave the money to him, and they got the receipt. Pete said he would call them when he got the key.
Day 2 to day 4: Pete called on day 2, and said he would not get the key until the next day. Over the next three days my friends called Pete and spoke to him a few times. Then Pete stopped phoning, and his phone number was not working anymore. That is when my friends went to talk to the RCMP.
Tips on protecting yourself: Think ADDA — Address of property/owner name, number. When you go to look at the property, be sure you can go inside! Write down the address that is on the front of the apartment/house, and the street name. Don’t trust that the person you are dealing with will give you the correct address.
Ask for the name and phone number of the owner of the property. Double check the owner’s name is correct! You can find out who is the real owner of any property in Whistler at municipal hall, the building beside the RCMP office in the village. In municipal hall you can look at the tax roll, which is a list of all Whistler properties arranged by the address. Beside the address of the Whistler property is the name and mailing address of the property owner.