5 Scams to Watch Out for When Looking at Apartments for Rent

Here are 5 common scams you should watch out for when you’re looking at apartments for rent.

Looking for an apartment can be an exciting experience. Here’s your chance to find an apartment that’s perfect for you, and maybe even in a part of town you’ve always hoped to live in. And with the internet, it’s even easier than ever to find your dream apartment.

Unfortunately, the internet has also made it easier for con artists to scam unknowing apartment hunters. Anyone can post a fake listing on Craigslist or any other apartment listing website, and you could accidentally give money or your personal information to a scammer if you’re not careful. But even real property owners can scam you by misleading you about the real nature of the property. Either way, you don’t want your apartment search to end in disappointment or stolen cash.

Here are 5 common scams you should watch out for when you’re looking at apartments for rent.

They Make Demands Before a Viewing

If there’s a rental listing for a great property at a bizarrely low price, you should start sniffing for a scam. It’s very rare that truly great properties, with large lots and upscale amenities, will come with low rent prices. Typically, it’s a good sign that a scammer will try to extract personal information or payment from you, or there could be serious defects with the property that make it an unsuitable place to live. What could those defects be? There could be a recurrent pest problem at the property, or perhaps the property is located in a dangerous neighborhood. Or, there was a horrible tragedy or death that occurred on the property.

You might not care about some of those issues, or maybe you will. Regardless, always do a viewing before you fill out a rental application. You should also check apartment ratings at ApartmentRatings.com and see what prior tenants thought about the place. This can help you examine the validity of a low price.

Extremely Expensive Price

You should also be weary of units that go for exorbitantly high prices. Sometimes, these property owners try to prey on overzealous first-time apartment hunters who aren’t quite sure how quality equates with rental price. Always try and find similar apartments and see what their rent prices are.

This will help you judge the true worth of a unit. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be share the space with a roommate—be skeptical about a $2500 apartment when nearby apartments go for $1400.

High Application Fee

Lots of landlords charge rental applications fees to cover the cost of tenant screenings. Beware of application fees that are too expensive. Tenants screenings usually only cost about $45, so anything significantly higher than that, could be a landlord or scammer trying to steal from you.

So long as you keep these five scams in mind, you’ll find a great apartment and won’t fall prey to greedy landlords or unscrupulous scammers. Happy apartment hunting! When you’ve found your dream apartment, be sure to read our guide on packing and moving before you move in.