It is not unusual to submit checks for first and security before signing the lease. However, the circumstance surrounding the transaction should be your guide.
If the individual requesting the checks is a licensed broker or if this is a property manager on premise for a larger apartment building there is less concern than if the individual is unlicensed, "working for the owner", is asking for the checks to be payable to a person versus a company and is doing so in the laundry room. The latter should cause a little concern.
Unfortunately, a lease in no guarantee that the transaction is legitimate as an individual bent on no good will have no difficulty preparing a lease. Knowing who you're about to do business with is the most important thing. If you are working with a broker or leasing agent do not hesitate to ask for his real estate license and ID and confirm the information here: https://www.idfpr.com/licenselookup/licenselookup.asp.
It's a little more difficult when dealing directly with the owner or his employee, but even here you should not hesitate to ask for the owner's name and contact info and the ID of the individual to whom you are giving the checks. Of course, you should insist on a receipt.
Ultimately, you hold all the cards. If something doesn't seem right simply walk away. There are other apartments, I promise.
Managing Broker -Â Urban Apartment Locators
Illinois Real Estate Broker Lic.#Â 471.007946
I have been doing rental for five years when the market collapsed. You can give first months rent to hold an apartment but why anyone would anyone turn over the security deposit without a contracts is to much.
Just like Bill said keep to your guns.
Your concern is legitimate. There are just too many scams going on out there today to take and becoming a victim. Your position make a whole lot of sense....ignor the manager's anger and stick to your guns....too many people feel that by showing a little anger they can get their way.
You are not wrong but take care that you don't lose this opportunity at the expense of proving a point.
You should only tender funds for rent and deposit after you have reviewed the lease to make sure you fully understand your requirements as a leaseholder and the requirements of your landlord. All terms and conditions.