I would ask for prior renters. Especially from out of state landlords using realtors. Read and then re-read your lease agreement. Always keep a paper trail of rent payments, take before and after photos of the rental before exchanging agreements. This way a landlord can not decide upon vacating that you damaged the property and keep any or all security funds. Make sure the Landlord puts your security deposit into a bank account and/or trust in your name.