landlord and protect yourself from a slumlord...or worse, a scamlord?
Better Business Bureau County Auditors or County Recorders ownership records Ask for references Housing Code enforcement Ask the other tenants On line ratings Management Company websites
1. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ohio Attorney General recommends: ask for identification before giving money. 2. Check the ownership and the financial status of the property at the county courthouse. See column left. 3 Ask how long the previous tenants were there? Why did they move? 4. Talk to the neighbors. 5. If it's a large complex, check online reviews at such sites as Apartment Ratings. RHINO says on line reviews are written by people who are very happy (sometimes compensated by the landlord) or very angry. Still, they can give you some clues about questions to ask or issues to investigate. 5. Drive by the landlord's other properties
Check local utility providers. Each
utility company will probably have a different policy about providing
account information, but it's
to check. Callers
will usually get a live person to talk to and besides verifying the
landlord's identity. tenants may
the bonus of getting average gas/electric/water/trash bill info
(which most tenants should be checking anyway!).
Our Health Dept. was encountering
something like the referenced Squatter Scam, and our office has had one or two
run-ins w/”landlords” pulling similar stunts. Locally, we’ve
seen folks who show vacant and condemned homes to tenants, lease up, and leave
with the first month’s rent and deposit. The tenant finds out they
don’t have a real LL or lease agreement when the city sees that the
property is occupied and notifies them that it is condemned. We always conduct a property check to determine
ownership. I find the easiest search is typically with the County Auditor’s
site (once you’re used to using it), but that the most up-to-date records
are often the County Recorders’ and are both typically available online.
to check out landlord records, are listed on your link, all of those
will have good info. For those in HUD apt. buildings, look up the owners
and managers, online. Our managing company has a great website, showing
n telling all their great works in progress and all that they own. HA
But it also has all the contact info for the company, so use that to
reach the higher ups.
Emily VB says:
Craigslist (a website where you can find almost anything), gets lots of
bad reviews from people who’ve been burned in their housing search. But
there are probably many more people who’ve found good places to live
using Craigslist’s listing- including me. You can definitely find good
deals when a unit’s been vacant for a little while. There are also other
websites that list housing like Apartment Finder, the Ohio Housing
Locator, and Zillow to name a few. Whatever website you use to look for housing, do your homework and don’t
hand over any money until you have. Call landlords and ask questions
about the housing and the rental agreement before you go check out the
place. Ask for the address and then check it out on Google maps. See if
there are any reviews that other tenants have written about a complex or
a landlord. If your housing situation is desperate, see if you can get a
friend to give you objective feedback on options before you make any
rushed decisions. Just don't be the tenant who gives money to someone
who isn't the real landlord (true story). And don't be the tenant who
moves in without seeing a unit, only to find out later that there are
horror stories plastered all over Google from residents past (also a
true story). Time and money have always been deciding factors for how people tackle
challenges. Finding a place to live is no exception to those
restraints. With busy schedules and little money for transportation,
looking for housing on the internet can seem like an ideal option. If
you use your smarts it definitely can be. But if you fall prey to tricks
and scams, the worst case scenario is ending up devoting lots of time
to unforeseen problems and losing more money than you bargained for.
Toronto to give letter grades to landlords? CityLab reports on a proposal for the City of Toronto to rate landlords the way they rate restaurants. "Last week, a Toronto City Council committee voted unanimously to endorse a new licensing regime for landlords. The proposal would institute a system for grading landlords of buildings of a certain size for conditions such as mold, bedbugs, working elevators, water cleanliness, and working air conditioning. If the full council proceeds with the idea, landlords will be subject to licensing and, potentially, grades that they will be required to post in building lobbies—the same way restaurants do in some cities. Couldn't happen in an Ohio city but...maybe some ambitious non profit advocacy organization could get a grant to gather up existing health and safety records for their communities?
DeWine's office says many Ohioans have fallen victim to Craigslist
scams. Ohioans looking to Craigslist for their rental home or
apartment are falling prey to scams. AG report appended at the bottom of this page.