7 Red Flags To Watch Out For When Apartment Hunting

Finding the perfect place to live is one of the biggest things students and couples strive for when getting out on their own. Many individuals spend hours searching for places to rent online, but is it the right information? Most new renters are easy prey for scammers posing as landlords or people who need to sublet a place while they are away at school or work. Below is a list of the top seven things that will tip you off to shady rental deals.

Poor Maintenance Practices

A property agent or company that does not take care of the little things around a building are not going to fix the big things. For instance, central air units that are broken, rusted, and overgrown with brush are one sign that the landlord does not take maintenance seriously. Cracked sidewalks with raised pieces of concrete that people can trip over when walking to the door are a bad sign. Forbes says that landlords who show apartments with broken faucets or appliances are less likely to fix the big stuff when the unit is rented.

Constant Construction

Always working on something means that maintenance is not top priority for property owners. Continuous work means interrupted sleep and inconvenience. The best apartment owners get the job done quickly to minimize disruptions.

Lack of parking

Investopedia warns apartment seekers to look at the parking situation of any potential rental unit. Property owners that do not control the parking for tenants pose a security risk for renters because no one knows who might park in the lot. It also puts people in the position to walk further to get home meaning that there are more opportunities for robbery or falls.

Inability to Keep in Good Contact

Messages with tons of errors, missing contact information, or incomplete answers are huge reasons to look closer at the property owner. Check out the name of the company, whether the agent is licensed and insured, and whether they are connected to local business agencies like the Better Business Bureau. NBC News in Washington warns readers to beware of landlords that message and email rather than talk in person. They feel that agents who do not address your questions and send generic emails are potentially dangerous, so caution is advised when dealing with a landlord that is out of town constantly or too busy to talk on the phone.

Cheaper Rental Prices Than Comparable Units in the Area

All experts say that an apartment that costs significantly less than others in the area is a big red flag. Real estate agents and property firms often list units by comparing them to others in the area with the same features, square footage, and location. Any unit that is priced way under comparison costs is often from a private landlord or someone trying to scam renters. The best way to avoid this issue is to look at other units in the area to see what they are renting for before signing anything or handing over money.

Extremely Pushy Landlords

People who try to get you to fill out an application before you see the apartment are often looking to steal information or get something over on you. Rental experts advise individuals to see the unit, check out the landlord, and then put money down for a deposit. Beware of agents that try to get you to sign on the dotted line while rehab is in progress.

Cluttered Yards, Patios, and Balconies

Property management companies that allow renters to use patios and terraces to store large items often let things in the unit fall into disarray. Trash along the fences is another flag. Nicely manicured lawns and outdoor spaces are the keys to finding a well-maintained property.

No Central Air

This may or may not be a major issue for you depending on the climate of your area and the health of your occupants, but central air is a must for people in especially hot climates, or for families with sensitivity to airborn allergens or pollutants. According to Slyman Brothers, modern AC Units pull these particulates out of the air in a way that no window unit or swamp cooler ever can.


Finding that perfect place is not easy. Experts say to be very wary of anything that does not feel right when looking for an apartment. Your gut is the biggest indicator of problems. Never let anyone talk you into something that just does not make sense.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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