Washington, DC

Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

“Dear PoPville,

I contacted someone based on a Craigslist ad for an apartment, and after some emails, learned the apartment is not ready to show till late April. The agent asked for some information about myself (occupation, age, why looking to move, whether current landlord would serve as a reference, etc) and when I provided it, he wrote back the following:

“Your move in date of May 1st is fine, however, due to rush and high demands for apartments, i will advise that you put a hold-on (reserve) the unit and take it off the market now.

To proceed with the unit reservation, you are required to fill the unit booking/lease form and make holding-deposit (first month rent + security deposit). With this, we reserve the unit in your name, integrate you information into our tenant database and take it off the market pending your arrival.

Please note that reservation proceeds on a first come first serve basis, once unit reservation in your name is complete and your information integrated into our tenant database, the unit cannot be rented out to anyone else until after you and you are entitled to an immediate full refund of the holding-deposit (this is clearly declared in the lease form) right on the spot of viewing (if you are not satisfied with the unit upon viewing or if this unit is not in great shape as advertised).”

I don’t know anything about this agent aside from his name and gmail address. Despite how nice the apartment looks, I’m not really inclined to write over a large check, even if he does send me an official-looking lease. Am I being paranoid? Is this normal?”


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