Toronto Police are asking for the public's help in locating a man who allegedly rented out apartments that were not his.

In a news release issued on January 10, police said that a man advertised apartments for rent online between July and November 2022. However, he was not authorized to rent the units, nor show them to prospective tenants.

The suspect, identified by police as 36-year-old Christopher Lancop, allegedly collected deposits and rent money from multiple people. He is wanted for 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 urge them, or anyone with information, to contact investigators at 416-808-5200. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers via 416-222-TIPS (8477) or

toronto rent scam wanted

Toronto Police have long warned about rental scams in the city, with one increasingly common tactic involving scammers temporarily renting an apartment on Airbnb and then advertising it for rent as if they're the owner.

Such a scenario is hard to distinguish as a scam as potential renters can visit the unit in-person. The unsuspecting renters are then more willing to hand over deposits.

In Toronto's increasingly competitive rental market, where the average one-bedroom apartment costs over $2,500, such scams can trick 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 a unit is actually available for long-term rent.