How to spot a shady landlord (before it’s too late)
With the new year comes a multitude of newly signed leases. Whatever the market conditions, there is always a risk that the person who sells and maintains your apartment will be, to use an industry term, a “total skeeve”. (Some of us would say the term âshady landlordâ is redundant.) The reality of being a renter is that you have to be constantly vigilant or you risk getting ripped off.
Let’s say you’ve seen the place and met your potential future owner in person, and the vibes are shifted slightly, even though you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong. we covered how to control your landlord, and now we’ll take a look at some of the signs that their verification is something you will need to do, ideally before signing this lease. So if you are moving into a new location in the New Year, avoid these pitfalls of a potentially hazy situation.
A non-refundable deposit
According to Brabender Law in ChicagoHistorically, one of the most common rental scams has been involving landlords falsely holding tenant security deposits. A non-refundable deposit is a cause for alarm. Sometimes what should be a security deposit can be reframed into a non-refundable move-in fee, which is also a scam. here is how to make sure you get your security deposit back.
Emphasis on money
With all the different forms of money transfer out there, the insistence on cash only screams âscamâ these days. As this guide to fraud details, you should never be forced to pay your landlord with virtually impossible to trace cash. Opt for payment methods that can be traced both to your bank account and to the person who cashed it, like with a classic check. here is our distribution of the different online payment services.
They won’t answer your questions
Are the charges included in the rent? When can you expect the security deposit to be returned once you vacate the property? When is the rent due and how will you pay? If your potential owner is unable or unwilling to answer your questions, there is cause for concern. At best, they are disorganized. At worst, they hide unsavory information.
In addition to the sample questions above, here are specific questions ask your landlord that he rarely comes to tell you.
A hostile attitude
If they’re overly aggressive or obviously inattentive during the signing process, be prepared for this kind of behavior on the road. This isn’t necessarily a break up, but it is certainly a cause for concern when you inevitably have to communicate with your landlord about the property while you live in it.
Likewise, any attempt at anonymity by an owner should be regarded as a red flag. Even if their practices are flawless, it is always a sign that they will be difficult to reach if repairs are needed.
Incredibly low rent
Especially when it comes with an expensive bond, a rent that sounds too good to be true could be just that. Rents that look like a dream might instead be a scam, in which case, here are our tips to avoid falling prey to misleading ads.
The property is in poor condition
Some wear and tear is to be expected as people enter and exit the units. You may think that you will be sensitive to the poor condition of a property, but keep in mind that in the moment your judgment may be clouded by pure optimism or a desire to end the whole process. Maintenance issues are the number one reason you will need to work with your landlord in the future. If your landlord isn’t putting some effort into the property when trying to sell it to you, don’t expect them to help you after you move in.
Refusal to show the certificate of occupancy
This tip comes from MY MOVEMENT: In some areas, local laws require a landlord to have a Certificate of Occupancy, which is a document proving that a building complies with all applicable building codes and laws and is suitable for occupancy.
First, call the local building department and check if your landlord is legally required to have this certificate. Then ask the owner to show you proof of the document. Once you have this information, ask the owner to show you the document. If they don’t want to show it to you, then something is wrong.
This throbbing feeling
Unfortunately, the owner’s long list of red flags does not end here. As a tenant, you must always be vigilant. A lot of things that are clearly scams to some people are just ambiguous to the rest of us, like a landlord charging a fee to view the apartment, trying to charge extra for roommates, or promising to send a copy. of the lease later.
Landlords like to apply a sense of urgency to getting you to sign a lease, but don’t be afraid to take the time to research anything that gives you bad vibes. To verify these apps and sites to protect you from a bad owner. Finally, if your landlord leaves, don’t forget to negotiate these things before signing a lease.