7 Warning Signs of a Bad Place to Rent

Originally posted on January 05, 2017 3:07 pm
Updated on February 09, 2017 11:36 am


Renters! Please be careful when you’re signing away a year of your life and thousands of dollars on a new apartment. Leases signed without thinking and in a hurry tend to be way worse decisions than they appear at the time. Admirable human traits like youth and wide-eyed trust in the world make inexperienced renters not ask really important questions before losing money, time, and sanity. Because we care, we’re going to give you a checklist of 7 warning signs you shouldn’t dismiss.

1. They won’t let you see the actual unit you’re renting

This is an incredibly sneaky thing that, unfortunately, a lot of landlords like to pull when renting out less than desirable units. They’ll tell you “Oh, this is our model apartment, the one you’re renting will look just like this!” Even if that was true, which it often isn’t, they definitely haven’t been identically damaged over the years.

2. It’s impossible to get maintenance on the phone

Before renting an apartment, call their maintenance or landlord number and see if it’s possible to get connected to an actual human. Some landlords are sweet to your face but are literally impossible to reach by phone. Some people might be unfortunate enough to land in a situation without once getting through to the landlord over the phone. 

3. The utilities don’t work

It’s always important to spend a few minutes checking out the utilities yourself on any apartment or house as landlords can and will grossly exaggerate the quality of their facilities. At the very minimum, you need to get an assessment of the air conditioner, turn all of the lights on/off, run all water taps for a few minutes, and check how badly the house echoes when you shut doors.

4. They tell you “short of murder they’ll approve about anyone”

This might be oddly specific, but the landlord of every apartment or house that will turn out to be a car crash of a living situation says this. If they have really ridiculously low standards for who they want living there, you absolutely should not expect to receive such red-carpet treatment as “functioning water” and “doors that lock,” you spoiled brat.

5. They use a lease with items that can’t actually be legally enforced

This one requires you to get a lawyer to look over your lease, but you should probably do that no matter how good you think the place is. If a Florida landlord has in their lease that he could sell the property at any time and force you to vacate at will, which is completely ridiculous, they are disorganized and dishonest. Don’t forget, you have rights too. 

6. They’ve promised to do a lot of work “after you’ve moved in”

This is the absolute biggest and most insidious lie that a landlord will tell an inexperienced and trusting tenant to get them to move into a hard to rent and undesirable property. If a landlord truly cares about the quality of a place, you can bet that they will have that properly fixed up and ready to go before any papers are signed. When a landlord tells you, “yeah, yeah, we’ll fix the door and the pipes after you’ve legally bound yourself here for a year and our incentive to try and sell you on a house that’s in poor condition is over, definitely” run far and fast.

7. It doesn’t feel right

Your gut should be your guide in life, as well as in finding a place to live. If you get a bad vibe from a potential roommate, landlord, or property, listen to your intuition. You clicked on an article like this, so you’re much smarter than people who don’t do any homework before signing a lease and you’ll always come out on top if you listen to your instincts.

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