Craig's List ?

Apr 19th, 2006, 08:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 106
Craig's List ?

We are going to rent an apartment from an advertiser on CL -- how do I determine if it is legitimate? Yes, there is a contract, but we have never rented an apt directly from the owner and I am feeling a bit uneasy.
mijols3 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2006, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,698
Most county auditors have web sites where you can seach by address for the owner of record. You can get a lot more information as well, like property taxes, etc. But, if you are questioning whether/not the property owner is legitimate, you might start here. You can also contact the Better business bureau and your local tenant's housing association to see if any complaints have been lodged against them.
aliska is offline  
Apr 21st, 2006, 09:40 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,336
It is done all the time so plunge ahead. Ask for photos of the place, be prepared to pay everything up front, or at least a hefty deposit. Look to see if they advertise on any regular sites (vrbo or vacationrentals for instance) and for how long. And talk to the owner by phone and make sure you feel good about it.

Craigslist is being increasingly used for rentals. NYTimes had an article about this.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Just make sure you have all the info you need and have asked all the questions. Read a post on another board when the OP had not - and was astonished that the apartment was a 5th floor walk up and not an elevator doorman buidling.

You can ask here about the neighborhood and even the buidling - and it's likely someone will know something - but not likely about a specific apartment.

And it's not always going to be easy to get info from other sourcces - because lots of these people are apartment renters - not owners - who are doing short-term (and illegal) sublets. This doesn;t mean you'll be in legal trouble - but that it's likely there are no public records to consult.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 07:55 AM
Posts: n/a
I'd require a land line phone number and an actual residential address for the person and hopefully sending the deposit check for payment if if must be made in advance to that address. Paying via an email account without a known physical presence by the owner scares me a little.
Apr 22nd, 2006, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,861
I've become a CL devotee for renting apartments, having done so successfully in several cities. Sure, it's something of a crapshoot and requires a basic trust, but when you consider the recent posts about the WooGoo/Expedia debacle the odds don't seem much worse.
A few things to keep in mind:
If it seems too good to be true (penthouse in Manhattan for $75/night) it probably is.
Ask to see pictures if possible, and remember that the owner will likely send only the best shots - if something looks funky in the picture it may well be even worse in real life.
The CL community is pretty good about posting notices of known scammers. Check to see if there are any such reports on the property you are interested in renting.
Do NOT use Western Union to wire payment - even CL advises against this; it reeks of scam.
PayPal is great - I have used it several times. For owners who rent only occasionally and don't have a PayPal account, ask if you can mail a check for any required deposit. Some owners may want to be paid in cash, and if this is done at the time you arrrive and actually see the place that would seem OK.
Get the actual address (not just the neighborhood) before paying anything, and look it up (Yahoo or Google maps) to check out convenience to subway stops, etc. and to make sure it doesn't back up to a train track or something.
And especially in NYC, read the post carefully, as some are for sharing a place ("room in SoHo loft") as opposed to having a place to yourself.
Let us know how you make out.
Seamus is offline  

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