Account rentals are common in Old School RuneScape. Because OSRS is very grindy, it takes a large amount of time and effort to manually get the account you need. You may need to invest hundreds or possibly even thousands of hours to get to the top levels from scratch and perhaps even gain non tradeable items and gear such as Void/Graceful. With that said, most rentals are only available for staking accounts to minimize risks for the person/business renting accounts.
Commonly, account rentals are done for activities like staking. If your previous account has been banned or you don't have an account with all 99 melee combat skills, then you can not effectively stake. Staking is popular with account rentals because staking has very low taxes and no maximum limits which allows you to employ strategies when staking.
As the name implies, account rentals are not free and are done at a fee. This means during the 30 minutes or 1 hour you rent the account for, you need to profit money. This is done through receiving the account, which will be placed at the Duel Arena and have a whip on it. You will transfer your gold to stake with and will stake, and hopefully make enough GP to cover the cost of the account rental. Or at the very least, you will have had fun staking or learn from the experience.
Staking is high-risk high-reward. You can easily profit or make a loss for the night, dependent on your luck/RNG. Use staking strategies to optimize your chances to profit at the end of the night. PKing and PvPing simply do not compare to the amount of money you can make (or lose - if you aren't careful) through staking. With top items such as the Scythe and Twisted Bow costing over 1.2 billion each, and with the Twisted Bow being considered essential for end-game PvM like Inferno: staking can be a good way to acquiring those items without grinding an insane amount of hours.
You can rent OSRS accounts from multiple different websites, such as gold-selling websites that will often have side-services such as account training and staking rentals. In addition, the notorious blackmarket for OSRS, Sythe, has a forum section dedicated to account rentals: sythe
There are many different providers out there and the market is fast-moving and constantly changing. Hence, third party websites like Sythe and others allow you to view the reputation and recommendations of many of the current services.
When you are looking for accounts to rent, you need to consider how long the service has been operating primarily. Look at any of the vouches/reviews and see if they're genuine, ensure they're not posted reviews via fake accounts (little community interaction, no profile picture, recent join dates) and always check the recent reviews. Search if there has been any reports posted against them via the website. Even if they've had a previous valid report but are still operating, it's still possible that is a red flag - some sites will allow them to continue as long as they have refunded the users involved. Do a Google search and view their reviews from other websites, using multiple sources is only a good thing and can never hurt.
Never find a staking account (or service) through YouTube or word of mouth as it will likely be a scam, as the recovery is instant and you will be booted off the account. Always do your research and stick to the ones that have good reviews and have been established in providing these accounts for an extended period of time. If there's any service that sounds too good to be true, it probably is, this includes a service that takes a percentage of your winnings at the end - they are heavily likely to recover it after you've transferred the GP over.
OSRS Account rentals have varying prices from different people based on demand. The prices alternate between 4 million GP and 8 million GP generally. In addition, most people are pretty flexible and will allow a rental for 30 minutes to 1 hour.Deposits may be required beforehand on top of costs to cover the whip costs, or perhaps even provide your own whip instead if it's a 30 minute session. This is because many people go on a loss streak and/or lose everything and take the whip from the account from themselves.
The costs of account rentals are considerably cheap if you have a larger budget, as staking is a high-risk, high-reward activity. Though do factor in there is some waiting time involved, someone has to duel you or you duel them, and even then a lot of the people will be scammers. Streamers will often find duels instantly but this is because their own viewers who also like to stake choose to duel them.
However no matter whether you win or lose, the renters make a nice amount per each account which otherwise would be dormant, and people also tend to leave generous tips when they win large. And renting an account is far easier than training your own account.
In addition, you may get a discount for the longer you rent for. It's recommended to not rent for longer than one hour at most. First of all, you don't want to pay for 3 hours and then lose all your money at the end of the 1st hour and have 2 hours remaining. Secondly, you don't want to get scammed, especially if it's your first time. Even if you can't guarantee you'll be able to rebook straight away afterwards you can always resume your staking session another time.
Typically, it is very safe to rent RuneScape accounts as long as you stick to a reputable provider which you discover on a reputable website with genuine reviews.
If you do not go to a reputable provider, it is possible for someone to manually monitor the account and see what you're staking. If they see the account has a lot of wealth on it or has had multiple wins, it is possible for them to recover the account and take any GP on the account for themselves. Once they submit the recovery you will be booted off the account and they have the email and details to perform an instant recovery.
In addition, staking itself has plenty of scams going on, and if you're rushing because you're on a time limit with a rented account, you could easily fall victim to one. You need to have some experience in staking and understand what each of the settings allow and what loopholes are present.
In terms of Jagex, Jagex does basically nothing against anyone who is account sharing. Account sharing is not something Jagex actually cares about any more aside from doing activities like the Inferno, as it is a PvM achievement, and if you pay someone else to do it they will remove it as the main account owner should be the one who accomplishes that goal. The risk is from the people you're renting the account from.
The most risk you incur is with someone not providing you the promised account with the correct stats and for the designated time.
Most issues you can circumvent risk by using a trusted provider via doing your own research.
There's nothing you can do to guard against an account recovery during your service but a larger or reputable provider will not ever dare to do this. Some websites will provide you with policies that cover you and in addition you could report them to markets like Sythe and they will be banned. The providers typically have other businesses and max-main rentals are only a part of it, and people who win large will tip large. In addition to tips, they will make more in the long-run from operating a legitimate business, especially if they're operating multiple accounts available to lease. However, a newcomer and random person will be willing to conduct such a scam.
Because OSRS max main rentals only typically have 99 Melee, 99 Strength and 99 Defence there's a lot of different scams people can run on you if you're not paying attention due to the aforementioned time constraints. For example, you need to avoid basic scams such as people enabling prayer or not putting the correct value via platinum tokens or gold (which you can be fooled by if you're simply rushing).
There's also the common scam of staking with ranged with a maple shortbow and providing you with Rune arrows that you can not use for a maple shortbow, meanwhile they will empty their blowpipe and use darts against you (they can do this even when have disabled switching weapons). Essentially you will be punching them and they will be using ranged darts against you.
In addition people may have other weapons in their inventory and enable weapon switches to have the advantage over you with better weapons.
One of the best things you can to do take action in the event someone does scam you, use a recording software. Software like OBS is completely free and will easily record for you. If lag is an issue, you can even use Bandicam which does not lag at all and is very lightweight at the expensive of some quality. This is very helpful if you are dealing with someone trustworthy or a rogue worker for a company, as they will most likely refund you, otherwise will risk tarnishing their reputation and getting removed from all reputable sites they actually trade on which is a huge hit against them.
Don't keep more gold than you need on the rental. You can always have an alt and transfer whatever you need back and forth as many times as needed. It only takes a few extra seconds and never hurts, especially if you're waiting for a stake already. Odds stakers no longer exist in the game. Any methods to avoid taxation with staking in-game are pretty much all lures and every website has taxes to continue operating, so you can not avoid taxes aside from taking advantage of temporary promotions by the big websites.
In addition, there is a blacklist of account login usernames (username/emails) where they have been involved to scam on all of the main blackmarket forums. Never go with someone who is providing accounts that is present on any reputable blacklist.
OSRS Account Rentals can be very lucrative if you do your research, have staking experience (or at the very least knowledge) and if you do have a good budget to stake with. Be sure to not rush due to time limits and make any mistakes, whether that's falling victims to scams or risking more than you can afford on one stake. Always remember to conduct a basic background check on anyone you decide you to rent from, it only takes a few minutes and the information is easy to access from all of the forums available from the top markets.
Ensure to find someone who will provide you with a good rate, but who is also trustworthy. Record yourself at all times whilst on the account and constantly transfer gold over between mules to remain completely safe - you will not get banned at all for doing this. Also, ensure to read the Terms of Service of the account service you're renting from - some people will even assume any money you leave on the account is a (non-refundable) tip even if you don't explicitly mention it. Also ensure to complete any staking activity before your time is up, not afterwards, as the account owner may boot you off. Many of the services are typically booked hour-to-hour and not all have a huge supply of maxed accounts available for rent at any given time.
Best of luck with your account rentals!