Beware of Bait-&-Switch Tactics
NEW YORK — Last month, I listed a few ways to protect yourself from apartment rental scams. Here’s one more.
A couple of friends who were looking for a place in Brooklyn found a pre-war, one-bedroom flat they liked and paid a deposit. The application took almost a week to be approved.
When they went back to sign the lease and conduct a walk-through of their new apartment, the landlord showed them a different unit. Naturally, it was smaller and with far fewer renovations than the original.
My friends protested but soon learned the apartment they liked had already been rented. Luckily, there was no problem in getting their deposit back.
Looking at the apartment application, we noticed one was detail missing: The apartment number. (Not a humorous one, like this.)
So, when applying for an apartment, make sure the unit is specified in your paperwork.
Obstacles might never be avoided completely, but it makes sense to reduce the possibility as much as possible.
Then again, your best bet might be to work with a reputable real estate agent at a company with a solid reputation.
Have you encountered any scams when looking for an apartment? Let me know in the comments below.