6 Ways to spot a bad landlord when searching for a new home

    1. Landlord is MIA
      A landlord is the face of the property they are representing. If you find it difficult to make contact with the landlord, such as never answering their phone or not responding to voicemails or emails, that is a pretty good indicator of how a landlord will treat you going forward. Another thing to look out for is a landlord that lives in another state or even another country. If you have any issues with a place you are renting, you should be able to have a landlord come and take care of it within a reasonable amount of time. The last thing you would want is for something like a pipe to burst and not be able to get ahold of your landlord to fix it. There is no need to accept excuses from a potential landlord, as they should be just as invested in finding a good tenant as you are in finding a good home.
    2. Requests that you only pay in cash or money orders
      Each state has its own set of standards for the cap of a security deposit. For instance, if you are moving in or to Arizona, the landlord CAN charge you a security deposit in the amount of one and one-halves month rent. You will want to check the laws for the state you live in because some can require three months rent as a security deposit ON TOP of charging first and last month’s rent. If you feel that the amount is too high, you can show your landlord the laws pertaining to your state just so that they are aware, but either way, you may want to keep searching for housing.
    3. Requests that you only pay in cash or money orders
      If a landlord asks or pressures you into thinking that paying in cash and money orders is the best option, run, run fast! This is a telltale sign of a scam, which unfortunately happens all too often. There are scenarios where landlords will ask for a deposit, and first and last month’s rent money from two parties and then claim that one never paid him, and that is why the other one is now moving into the available housing. In this scenario, there is no way to prove that you actually paid this person. You may have a receipt from a money order, but it will not have the recipients name or a signature from them acknowledging receipt of the money order. This is all a long-winded way of saying that any reputable landlord will not pressure you to pay in cash. In fact, they will welcome a check because that will protect both parties if anything comes up in the future.
    4. They complain about current tenants
      If a landlord feels that it is appropriate to complain about other tenants to you, then rest assured that at some point your landlord will be complaining about you to other tenants. A landlord should never speak ill of their tenants, and in doing so, they are showing that not only that they are extremely unprofessional, but also that they are disrespectful. If a landlord is behaving in such a manner, it may be worth reaching out to the building owner, since, at the end of the day, the landlord is supposed to be the face of the building and therefore the professional contact for the owner. Building owners can be held accountable for their employees’ actions, so you do them a disservice by not letting them know that a landlord is being unprofessional.
    5. Pressures you to sign a lease without giving you time to read through it carefully
      While most rental agreements have fairly standard terms and qualifications, you will want to take adequate time to read through your lease agreement and find out if there are any stipulations to know about, such as if your agreement is protected in the event that the building is sold. If the landlord will not allow you to take home a rental agreement and read through it, that is a huge red flag. There is no reason that a landlord should pressure you to sign a lease agreement on the same day that you receive it.
    6. Google your landlord
      This may sound crazy, but it is never a bad idea to Google your landlord’s name. You would be surprised at the information that may be out there, anything from social network profiles to arrest records. If you are moving locally, you may even have a mutual acquaintance that you can speak to about the landlord. Local moving companies in Tucson know a lot about the housing rental situation in town as well, so you may ask them if they have heard positive things about a particular apartment complex, whether it be good or bad. If you find something that makes your nervous, move on to the next option. Ultimately, you want to live somewhere that you feel comfortable and that you know your belongings will be safe.


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