How to Find a Good Apartment in a Bad Housing Market, According to Reddit

How to Find a Good Apartment in a Bad Housing Market, According to Reddit
Photo: Anatoli Igolkin, Shutterstock

The global rental market is out of control. Viral tweets are making their rounds, showing hopeful renters lining up outside of vacant apartments in New York City, and you probably know someone who has posted pleas for affordable open rooms and sublets, especially in Melbourne. If you’re among those who are desperately searching for a rental right now, here are a few tips for your hunt, culled from Reddit.

Know your rights against housing discrimination

This advice comes up a lot, and it’s important: Familiarise yourself with the laws and regulations in your area, whether you already live there or are attempting — God help you — to move into a new city right now. Generally, you can’t be denied housing for reasons based on discrimination. Good luck proving it, of course, let alone litigating if you’re knee-deep in the rush to find a new place, but knowing those rights will help you navigate potential denials or other situations.

Keep timing in mind

You might not be able to time your move perfectly. New jobs, opportunities, or hurdles happen, and you might need to pack and find a new spot ASAP. Give yourself as many weeks — or months — in advance as possible to find a good spot, and if that means you have to snatch a place up before your old lease is over and pay double rent for a month or two, figure out if you can budget for that. It might be your best option.

Don’t pay before you see a unit

Desperation in the air, but don’t hand over any money unless you’ve seen an apartment in person, checked out its faucets and outlets, and given it a real once-over. You’ll be on that lease for a year, most likely, and agreeing to something sight-unseen could make that a miserable year. Landlords know that people might be willing to pay to secure a spot before the first of the month. Do everything in your power to see it first.

Connect with your broker or potential landlord

When reaching out on a website, give the renter or broker as much detail as you can. Your best chance at even being considered is to be direct, thorough, and anything but vague. Include your income and availability for a showing, and even a potential move-in date.

Even better, call the broker. Their number might not be listed on the site you’re using, but a quick Google of their firm can give you what you need. They’re getting a lot of messages, but if you manage to get them on the phone, you have a direct line of communication for your questions and answers, and hopefully can schedule a viewing.

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