you are trusting a person you know nothing about with your money.
Please be very careful. were you asked to provide a credit report?. try to ask for an escrow account, Craigs list does not guaranty the legitimacy of their ads. I know of some horror situations, were money is collected by people that do not own the property. Perhaps paying through a PayPal account. If it is too good to be true, most of the time it is.
Talk with a local real estate agent that can help you find a home for rent. It doesn't cost you anything and if you are looking to rent while in another area, this would be your safest bet.
Patrick A. Hale, CDPE, RSD
Real Estate Broker & Investor
REO & SHORT SALE EXPERTS WITH A MISSION TO:
"Help Over 360 Distressed Home Owners Avoid Foreclosure"
If You or Someone You Know is in Financial Distress Visit: http://www.SDRealEstate360.com
It would be in your best interests since you are out of town to have a local agent represent you in the lease agreement process. You not only need to verify that the "landlord" owns the property, but that it is not in a pre-foreclosure status. Credible landlords usually do a credit check prior to signing a lease, has that been done? Is the rental rate usual and customary for that area? (Another red flag is if the rental rate is lower than usual for the area). You are wise to be cautious.
Marcie Sands, REALTOR
Simply The Best Real Estate Co., Inc.
* * * Use a Real Estate Attorney to hold the Deposit in Escrow * * *
If "The Owner" balks, then you walk.