Man wanted for allegedly renting apartments in Toronto that weren’t his
Toronto police are asking for the public’s help in locating a man who allegedly rented apartments that weren’t his.
In a Press release released on January 10, police said a man had advertised apartments for rent online between July and November 2022. However, he was not authorized to rent the units, or show them to potential tenants.
The suspect, identified by police as Christopher Lancop, 36, allegedly collected deposits and rented money from several people. He is wanted on 14 counts of fraud under $5,000 and 14 counts of property obtained by crime.
Lancop, who also goes by the name Christian John Merner, is described as 5’10” and 170 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. A photo has been released.
Police believe there may be more victims and are urging them, or anyone with information, to contact investigators at 416-808-5200. Anonymous information may be submitted to Crime Stoppers via 416-222-TIPS (8477) or www.222tips.com.
Toronto police have long warned of rental scams in town, with a increasingly common tactic involving scammers temporarily renting an apartment on Airbnb and then advertising it for rental as if they owned it.
Such a scenario is difficult to distinguish as a scam because potential tenants can visit the unit in person. Unsuspecting tenants are then more inclined to return the deposits.
In Toronto’s increasingly competitive rental market, where the average one-bedroom apartment costs more than $2,500such scams can cheat renters out of more than $5,000.
To avoid being scammed, police advise asking landlords for ID, only renting through legitimate agents, and confirming with a building’s property management that one unit is actually available for long term rental.
Zoe Demarco is an editor at STOREYS and was previously an urbanized editor at Daily Hive. Born and raised in Toronto, she is passionate about the city’s ever-changing cityscape.