1. Make sure you ask to see credentials of the private owner. Owner's government issued ID and name and address on public records must be a match. If the person you meet is just the "owner's representative", ask to personally meet the owner.
2. Spend a little time investigating the owner and any other information directly related to the property, foreclosure action, liens, criminal background, etc. Landlords investigate you, you should investigate them as well.
3. All funds provided towards securing the rental must be certified or from a verifiable source. Do not hand out cash even if you are promised a receipt in return. A cashier's check or money order is as good as cash.
4. As to in any other contractual agreement you should always seek the advice of a Legal Counsel.
There is a lot of scam around, specifically with Craigslists ads and you can loose your money if you are not very careful.
Please note that all services are free to you as a renter so if you need assistance finding a place, please contact me directly at email@example.com
2201 Ponce De Leon
Coral Gables, 33034