General Question

Jeruba's avatar

What's it like to rent an apartment during covid time?

Asked by Jeruba (53614points) May 1st, 2021

I mean taking a new rental, not staying on where you were already living. Have you done this in the past 14 months or so?

Or have you rented out properties to tenants?

Are there different conditions involved now in viewing apartments, presenting credentials, and signing leases?

What advice would you give to a new or prospective renter who has no recent experience as a tenant?

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11 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

If you don’t want to tour in person some landlords and apartment communities with FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype from the property. If you are using a realtor your realtor will do it for you.

Most places are doing everything in person if the prospective tenant is ok with going in person. Everyone is expected to wear a mask, but I’m not in California, and California has been much stricter than most states regarding covid.

All paperwork can be done online either through Docusign or email. Many rentals charge a fee for the application and require that you get renters insurance. They might ask permission to run a credit or background check.

Jeruba's avatar

What about places that don’t give personal tours and just set up self-tours—and want you to send them a scan of your driver’s license over the Internet? Who would even do that?

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba Do you mean the property is left open for you to walk through on your own?

Zaku's avatar

I know someone who’s done a bit of apartment shopping and a ton of AirBnB and hotels. It doesn’t sound like there was all that much different in procedures. The differences are more about what’s been available and certain apartment buildings seem less desirable when there are many people staying home in them all day going stir-crazy.

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, no, there’s a lock box with a one-time electronic key that you get when you’re okayed for the walk-through.

I do not want to send a scan of my driver’s license and credit information to an unknown party via the Internet. Or walk around alone on unfamiliar premises.

And not being able to see a real person, form an impression from their comments, and ask questions is pretty limiting when you’re looking at an outlay of several thousand dollars a month. Grocery workers show up in person. Why not property agents?

I would like to know if other landlords and prospective tenants are seeing this as a trend and if there are ways around it.

JLeslie's avatar

If it’s just a scan of my license and it’s a property management company (I’d look them up) that would be fine with me. I wouldn’t go alone, I’d go with a friend or be on the phone with someone. I’d tell the management I’ll be facetiming during the walk through.

If it makes you uncomfortable, which I can understand, I would tell them, and ask for someone to meet you at the property. If they can’t accommodate it, then just move on to the next.

jca2's avatar

There are scams recently where an “agent” rents out a unit that’s not actually for rent. Leases are signed, deposits are given, fake keys are given, but the unit belongs to someone else who is clueless that the scammer is making money by falsely “renting” it to someone else. I’d be very leery.

Zaku's avatar

There’s no real reason not to just wear masks and socially distance while looking at an apartment normally. It’s much less risk of exposure than going to a grocery store.

nikipedia's avatar

I moved last month. Every place I looked at had the same normal tours as non-COVID times, just masked. Sometimes double-masked.

Follow your gut. You’re a smart person and have good instincts. If something gives you the heeby-jeebies, walk away. Someone who can’t even set you at ease the first time you meet them is not going to be pleasant to rent from long-term.

Cupcake's avatar

We’re moving to CA, so we have some current experience with this. Because of the COVID restrictions, agents and property managers are likely being more accomodating with video walk-throughs, etc. Even at public showings (that we’ve seen in CA), only one household is allowed in the property/apartment at once. I actually think some of the protection measures are pretty great and hope they stick around. We have not been asked to send our drivers licence to anyone, but have not been interested in any self-tour properties at this time. We did do that a few years ago in FL, which was nice because I don’t like being bothered by agents. But they should be willing to do a showing with you if you want one in-person.

Sorry if I’m rambling. The whole moving thing has me in a tizzy.

janbb's avatar

@Cupcake Your “tizzy” usually makes a lot of sense!

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