For Rent in New York>Question Details

Denise.murphy, Home Buyer in New York, NY

My daughter is interested in an apt in NYC. Something about this "deal" she found seems funny. How do I confirm that is a legitimate?

Asked by Denise.murphy, New York, NY Thu Aug 23, 2012

transaction? She is in her senior year at MMM. We live in RI.

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Anna M Brocco’s answer
Unclear as to the information you are looking for....when it comes to rentals, be aware that scams do exist, therefore always verify ownership before exchanging any money; see link below; consider working with an agent.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
I would always recommend you work with a realtor. A realtor generally, will be able to determine if a rental property is a scam. You should also check the property foreclosure status to determine if the property is not a foreclosure scam. You can check the foreclosure status FREE here,!rentals/chak
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2013
Even legitimate rental listings nowdays are published with a warning "avoid rental scams" because they became a big issue,

This is why it is important to work with a reputable agent. If you just found bunch of listings on line there is no guarantee that they are real and have been advertizded by a real estate professional.

However, to minimise your risks when you are going for a showing appointment, you can always ask a person for their license or even for a copy of their license and call their firm to check if such a person in fact works there,

If apartment is shown by the owner (it has to be a condo or a coop, or a townhouse when talking about Manhattan) - you can look up ownership documents and ask for a copy of a deed on their name. All property records are public information and can be easily verified,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 22, 2012
If the apartment is in New York City, almost all property information about the landlord is available online. You can verify easily if there is any discrepancy with the renters information and the recorded property owner information.

You also, have the right to request identification from the person renting out the unit if you believe they might be dishonest. Finally, you can insist on meeting the person in their office space and the next time you meet with them write down the license plate for the car they are driving.

Finally, I would always strongly suggest you work with a realtor who can help to verify the legitimacy of the rental. I forgot to mention that you should also check the foreclosure status of the property before you sign the lease. This will help you to avoid scams. You can check the foreclosure status of any property in the USA for FREE at

If you need realtor assistance I am available 24hrs at 914-299-0420.

Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2012
As an agent for a prospective tenants, I have investigated Craig's List ads to see if they are legit for my clients. A site visit is the only way to be sure, but you still have to be careful. If it sounds funny it is, CL is full of scams.

A common scam is that someone has a key, lets you in, shows you around, and says they need $X in cash right now to "hold" the apartment until tomorrow, or even later today, when the lease will be ready. You show up tomorrow and, of course, the scammer doesn't. For many apartments there are enough keys floating around that former tenants can sell them to scammers if they don't want to do this con directly.

Another common ploy, one I have received many calls about, is the "rental" of an apartment that is actually only for sale, and I'm the listing agent so I know. Scammers take my for-sale ad info and turn it into a rental at a great rent. Then there is always a story about why they can't meet you, but they do need you to wire a good-faith deposit to rent the apartment. Sometimes these cons show a cell phone number in New Jersey, say, but the scammer is actually overseas somewhere.

These cons are very good actors, and they are creative. Usually it is a parent who searches for-sale listings and then calls me when they find the same apartment listed for rent and for sale (a rare situation anywhere in NYC, although it does happen). I remember one account when the con had convinced the student/parent that might not qualify to rent, but that the con would work with them despite their "marginal" finances! They had already turned over their financial disclosure info to the con, which put them at risk for identity theft too.

For small building rental situations, to make sure the person with the key can actually rent the apartment requires searching public records on line. I was a journalist for over 20 years, so I also ask a lot of questions during the site visit and make observations to see if the story adds up.

Remember that in New York State, only an owner or an employee of the owner (for example, the live-in custodian) can legally show an apartment to a prospective tenant without a real estate license. A current tenant can open the door and let you in. But any showing by a "friend" or "neighbor" of the owner is immediately suspect and you should leave these situations. Incidentially, you also don't want to be robbed.

To avoid rental scams, at a minimum you have these choices: 1. Work with a real estate agent; 2. Rent only from established rental buildings with rental offices; 3. Do a site visit and also investigate the purported landlord to ensure property ownership.

Karla Harby
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Rutenberg Realty
New York, NY
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012
Hello Denise, we can't see what you are viewing without a link. Would be happy to assist you if there was more information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
Dear Denise,

For a second opinion, either contact the head broker or the broker's director for an explanation, or email a broker you feel you can trust.

Always ready,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
Please contact me. My name is Erika and I can be reached at 917-335-8569. I assist students to find housing in NYC. Thank you and good luck to your daughter.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
Hi Denise, could you elaborate on what is being asked for? Typically a landlord will ask to run credit, will ask for financial information on the tenant and or parent guarantor, and to hold the apartment pending a lease signing will ask for a deposit often equal to one months rent. I am assuming you or our daughter have seen the unt in person. I'd she is working with a broker they may have asked her to sign a commission agreement. It is typical that at lease signing all security deposits, fees that apply, and first months rent be submitted. If these types of things are being asked of your daughter this is pretty standard procedure here. If there's something else or something that seems "fishy" I would trust your instinct and maybe keep looking. Iftouvwould like to run the species past me I would be happy to help you further. Pls email me at or call me 917-376-1648. Best, Charlie Summers, VP, Bellmarc Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
Hi Denise!
From your question it is not clear what deal are you talking about.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
Please feel free to reach out to me at 917.328.7824...I would be more than happy to verify the potential transaction and go over details with you

Joseph Grosso
Corcoran Group
660 Madison ave 11th Floor
New York NY 10065
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
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