Tips for Renting Safely on Craigslist
How to Rent From Craigslist Safely
When it comes to finding housing for a travel nursing assignment, every traveler seems to have his or her own set of very different preferences. And that’s with good reason! The right – or wrong – living space can set the tone for your whole assignment.
Many travel nurses opt to find their own housing in an effort to get the most out of their housing subsidies. There are a lot of good online resources for this, and one of the most popular is Craigslist.
This classified ad site is a great way to find locally offered goods and services, but just like any time you use an anonymous online service, you have to be cautious of scammers. Below are some tips on how to safely rent housing from Craigslist.
1. Take Your Time
Renting an apartment in an unfamiliar city is a daunting task made even more difficult when you’re not even living in that city yet. Our housing specialists recommend staying in a hotel for the first two weeks of your assignment and using that time to look for an apartment. That way, you can view properties and meet property owners and managers in person. If the properties you viewed online turn out not to be what you expect, you then have the added safety net of a place to stay and more time to keep looking.
2. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
When searching through ads, be wary of listings that just seem too good to be true. If an apartment has everything a tenant could ever want, is in the perfect location, and is available at an unbelievable price, don’t believe it. Other warning signs of a fake ad are misspellings and bad grammar, no address listed, unusually small security deposits and lack of tenant screening.
3. Never Give Personal Information Upfront
One telltale sign of an attempted Craigslist scam is a landlord who requires you to give up a lot of personal information upfront. Many times these scammers will ask you to complete a credit report before applying. Or, they might ask for a significant application fee before you can view the property. Tip: Be suspicious if someone will only speak with you via email. Always get a phone number and speak to a real person. And never, ever wire money to someone as part of the transaction, especially if they say they are out of the country.
4. Do Your Own Research on the Property
You may not know much about the city where you’ll be living yet, but there are a few things you can do to make a more educated choice on housing. First, look up similar rentals in the area on websites like Hotpads and Lovely, which will give you an idea of comparable rental rates nearby and make you less susceptible to a scam. Also, make sure to always get an exact physical address for the properties you’re interested in, and then look up that address on Google Maps. Check out the building on Street View. Does it look like the kind of property you saw in the photos? Is it in good condition? Take a look around the neighborhood. Does it look safe? Does it look like somewhere you want to live?
Thinking about finding your own housing for your next assignment? Go for it! There are a lot of great properties available for short-term rentals that can make your housing subsidy go a long way. Just make sure to be smart about your apartment search and follow these tips to avoid trouble. Listen to your instincts and don’t be the next victim of a scam!
Confused about how travel nurse housing actually works? We’ve got you! Read our Housing Guide; it breaks down the housing subsidy and how TNAA does housing better — even if you take the stipend.