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Are you heading back to college this fall? If so, you might be about to move in to your first-ever rental house or apartment. Here are some tips for first-time renters:

  • Check your credit report. When you apply for that house or apartment, the landlord will probably check your credit report as a part of your background check. (And they might charge you a small fee to do it.) What’s in your credit report – if you have one – affects whether you’ll get the place. Get your credit reports at, the only authorized website for free credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies. Check the reports carefully to make sure the information there is right. If it’s not, learn here what to do next. If you haven’t built enough credit to have a credit report, or if you have credit problems, you may need someone to co-sign your lease.
  • Look out for rental listing scams. Scammers sometimes hijack real rental listings – or just make up a listing. Before you pay, always visit the apartment or house, inside and out. If someone tells you to pay a fee or deposit before you’ve actually been to the place, that’s probably a scam. And never wire money or pay with a gift card. Anyone who says you have to pay that way is a scammer. Read more about rental listing scams here.
  • Remember when rent is due! Mark it as a repeating event in your calendar. If you don’t pay your rent on time, you could be charged late fees and risk eviction. If you can’t pay on time, talk with your landlord. You may be able to negotiate a one-time extension on paying rent a few days after it’s due.

For more information, check out Renting an Apartment or House.

To read a version of this blog post in Tagalog, click here. Upang mabasa ang bersyon ng blog post na ito sa Tagalog, mag-click dito.

To read a version of this blog post in Korean, click here.
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To read a version of this blog post in Traditional Chinese, click here.

To read a version of this blog post in Simplified Chinese, click here.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Johnny Ray
August 20, 2019
Important info for everyone, not just our young collegians. I ❤ the FTC!
August 20, 2019
We are told not to give out our bank account numbers and our social security numbers, but you will be asked by most rentals for this information. The online applications are done by third parties. If you read the terms and conditions, you will find that they neither guarantee your information will be protected or accept responsibility if it is. Beware
August 21, 2019
Take Pictures of everything. Every shelf, every floor, every wall, every door. This is for your protection and theirs.
Reverend S
September 06, 2019
Reverend S My family and I are homeless Due to a rental scam. My husband-a veteran-found a rental on line which turned out to be a scam. The person cleaned out 3 months of paychecks and a Military assistance check. It set us back several months on bills and we are close to losing our car which is now our home. The police refused to investigate saying we can't prove we didn't just give him our money! PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!
Don't use your…
September 14, 2019
Don’t ever think you are too smart to get scammed. I did and got taken for $2200.00. Thank the officer from our local police. Knew the scammer (he had been at it a long time) he got my money back. Now I. Know anyone can get taken..