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5 Red Flags You’re About to Rent the Wrong Apartment

Searching for an apartment online is like online dating, you will never know what you will get. Sometimes the pictures are misleading while other times it sounds too good to be true. Walking into an apartment that doesn’t look anything like the pictures has to be frustrating.

The Local Records Office listed some of the downright shadiest rentals to help you avoid scams and help you keep an eye out for during your search.

1. No Receipt for a Security Deposit

When renters are desperate to move into an apartment many don’t realize how many scams are out there. If the property manager or broker avoids or doesn’t give you a receipt for your security deposit. This will be a big red flag. Before giving anyone any money make sure the first thing they give you is a receipt.

If the broker or management company is real and for some reason. They can’t give you a receipt telling them to send you a formal receipt to your email.

“Don’t leave until the email has arrived in your email. Also. try to get some sort of confirmation number from them too?” says, Lenard Archer, a salesperson with Carlson Realtor LLC in Los Angeles, CA.

2. Apartment Listings Without Pictures

It’s the 21st century and everyone has a cellphone with a camera these days. Therefore, listing an apartment without any pictures is a big red flag. Most of the crooks that list without pictures are because they have something to hide and or the listing is not real.

“If someone lists an apartment online without any pictures don’t bother contacting them. Most likely it’s a scam and you will end up wasting your time,” says Christina Sanders, from WTG Management in San Diego, CA.

3. The Listing is Too Good to be True

If it sounds too good to be true most likely it is. Scammers will usually list apartments at below market value to get the most attention but this should be a red flag.

Another red flag is when the pictures are low quality or look like they were taken in a different location.

“If an apartment has more amenities than usual and listed at a low price the listing might be a fake,” says Christopher Smith, from Montgomery Real Estate and Management in Las Vegas, NV.

4. No Background or Credit Checks

A management company or landlord who doesn’t require a background or credit check might seem too good to be true and it usually is. Landlords do credit checks to make sure a potential tenant is responsible for his finances. Someone with a low credit score will most likely be late on rent. Also, when management companies do a credit check they charge a small fee.

“Be careful with landlords who are quick to take your money and don’t run your credit. A good landlord will cover himself first by renting to responsible tenants and then will take money” says, David Johnson, a landlord in Southern California.

5. Requesting A Large Amount of Cash Upfront

Most management companies and landlords in this day of age will have tenants pay online or by money order. It is very rare when a landlord wants cash for rent. If a large amount is requested it’s probably a scam. In counties like Los Angeles County, many landlords request a security deposit and first month’s rent. In some cases first and last month is required.

“Requesting a large amount of cash upfront is unusual. If something like this would happen to me I would very cautious,” says Henry Jackson, a tenant in Los Angeles, CA.