How to Spot a Bad Landlord?

Jun 27, 2022

Although there are numerous good landlords out there, unfortunately, there are also bad ones. So, tenants must be very careful while choosing their next home. While price, size, location, and chosen amenities are a significant part of the process while searching for the right place, you need to think about finding the right landlord as by entering their property, you agree to a long-term relationship with them. It is important for you to choose wisely because even very comfortable and budget-friendly apartments can turn into a nightmare if the communication is bad.
Unfortunately, the warning signs aren’t always clear, meaning that you can easily get into a very complicated situation. Therefore, make sure to check out our tips on how to spot a bad landlord in the following text below.


When the landlords have a vacant unit, they are losing money and not generating revenue, meaning that truly good landlords will be more than eager to communicate with interested folks. So, how to spot a bad landlord? A bad landlord will dodge your calls, avoid questions, and show very little interest in helping you with the process. If the first interaction starts bad, this is not a good sign meaning that it would be best to avoid this rental unit and the landlord. However, we must mention that some landlords do make an effort and get tenants into the home but then tend to ghost them once the lease is finally signed. What does this mean? Getting ahold of them when it comes to maintenance, questions, needs, and concerns can become a challenge. So, if the landlord lacks in action, we highly recommend looking further, as bad communication at the start of your relationship won’t get any better over time.

Too Good To Be True

Although technology has made an immense contribution to humanity, it also has its downsides, especially when it comes to real estate leaving space for scammers. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is, especially when it comes to rental property. While searching for a place, if you come across a budget-friendly luxurious apartment, chances are, unless you are extremely lucky, that something’s off. And when it comes to real estate, it is better to double-check, especially when you come across shady ads. If needed, consider hiring a real estate agent to take care of the process. The best parameter that will help you determine whether the ad you found is a scam is an extremely low price.

A Luxury Apertment


Online forums and reviews are an excellent way to see what kind of reputation the landlord has. Now, if you come across one suspicious review that doesn’t necessarily mean that the landlord isn’t suited for your needs. But, if you find a bunch of them, you’re most likely dealing with a landlord that should be avoided. Furthermore, if this is coupled with more warning signs, stay clear of that rental unit. So, as always, reviews are the best indicator, if it’s possible to find them, of course.


Now, it’s understandable that the landlord’s goal is to collect rent which can be paid in various forms, including credit cards, cash, checks, etc. However, if the landlord is insisting that you pay with cash, chances are he’s not a reputable one. These kinds of landlords avoid taxes or any evidence of operating a business. We’re not saying that every landlord that asks for a cash payment sometimes is a shady one. Just that, if he’s constantly insisting on it, we recommend staying away and trying to find another rental unit. It can even be a rental scam as there is no evidence that the landlord has received any money, meaning that in the long run, you can get into various forms of trouble that can be easily avoided.

A Bad Landlord Is Holding Cash


You probably know that the rental agreement is the absolutely most important document for a tenant-landlord relationship. Since this is a legally binding contract, it outlines expectations and obligations while protecting the rights of both mentioned parties. Now, truly credible landlords accentuate the lease while ensuring that the tenant understands all the terms while answering any question that might come into your mind. On the other hand, shady landlords leave some of the terms vague and unclear by attempting to avoid responsibility for any inconveniences that might occur. This can lead to disputes and lots of confusion later on. So, if the landlord refuses to review the lease with you and cannot produce it or insists that you sign the lease before thoroughly examining the unit, we highly advise you to move on.

Common Areas

Another great parameter that will help you determine whether the landlord suits your needs or not are common areas of the property. The best part about this tip is that you can get a good picture of the landlords` relationship with tenants by looking at the common areas. Since it is a first impression you’ll make, listen to your gut feeling. No attention given to the common areas means that the landlord isn’t keen on keeping the tenants happy, meaning that, again, you should move along. Besides the first impression, take a look at how they handle repairs and the overall cleanliness of the place. The most common issues related to the subject include missing floor tires, evidence of pests, cracks in the walls, worn paint, or piled-up trash.

Gut Feeling

Although many times overthinking kicks in, and we tend to think about everything that could go wrong, leading to mistrust and having to second-guess every person you meet when it comes to renting an apartment/house, we advise listening to your gut feeling. If you see that something is wrong and the landlord seems shady or rude, take off as fast as possible. There is no need to waste time on somebody that is clearly not respecting you or your boundaries. Besides time, you wouldn’t want to spend money on their rental unit either. Instead, keep searching, and we’re sure you’ll find a good landlord that you can easily make an agreement with.

Avoiding dealing with bad landlords is crucial for your stress-free tenancy. The best way to avoid these problems is to hire an NYC property management company to advocate your interests in tenant-landlord relations.