“Cozy, one-bedroom apartment overlooking picturesque water feature.”
We all know that trick. It’s probably a closet situated next to a swamp.
When it comes to apartment hunting, there are several red flags that may pop up to alert you of when a property likely isn’t a good fit for you. Here are just a few of them that should give you pause.
How long did it take the property manager to return an initial request for information? If a landlord is shaky with his or her response time it likely is a direct reflection on how quickly he or she will respond to your maintenance requests, emergency or otherwise. When you’re renting and encounter a leak, a broken appliance or faulty wiring, you want a landlord with rapid responsiveness.
No paper trail
It’s never a good sign when a potential landlord forgoes leases and paperwork in favor of a verbal agreement. If there are no rental terms or printed agreements for you to sign, it’s a good idea to avoid the transaction. And this goes for your ongoing renter-landlord interactions – if they insist on cash-only rental payments, as opposed to checks or electronic funds transfer, it might be time to look for a more legitimate rental.
Wear and tear
Remember that the way a landlord presents his or her units in showings and in listings via images is likely the most spic and span it has been or will be. If you can see a lot of wear and tear to the floor, walls or ceilings or scratches, dings and general deterioration of fixtures, window and doors, it’s not a good sign. If a property manager doesn’t take good care of the unit even when it’s unoccupied, imagine the care they’ll give it once you move in.
Unless the property is a subsidized apartment community, if a price seems too good to be true, there’s a strong possibility that it is. If a seemingly great apartment is a total steal in the monthly rent cost, make sure you ask a lot of questions on your showing. There may be unseen factors, such as neighborhood safety, access to public transit and heating and cooling issues that keep the price down so low.
Sources: Forbes, CBS News