At the moment, many people prefer renting a temporary furnished apartment as opposed to hotels because of the relatively cheaper prices, adequate sizes for a family set up and to get the local experience firsthand. Agencies such as APT212 in USA New York help such individuals to get the best available apartments depending on their budget and other preferences specific to them. However, scammers can take advantage of unsuspecting foreigners to rent them illegal apartments or rob them of their hard-earned money. A few red flags that you should always be on the lookout to avoid renting these illegal apartments include;
No emergency exits- apartments are required by law to have a second exit which can be used to escape in case of an emergency. Some apartments have windows large enough that can be used for escaping such life-threatening events however if an apartment doesn’t have another means for the escape it is a clear indication that it is illegal.
It doesn’t have an address of its own- more often than not, apartments that do not have independent addresses are illegal. Furthermore, if there is no mailbox for the unit or an alternative way through which the tenant can receive their mail there is a high probability that the unit is illegal. The property owner for such apartments should therefore clarify and show the documentation of the apartment before you make any payments or you should otherwise leave for other options.
Share utility bills with another unit- if the apartment under consideration does not have a separate water electricity etc. bill and are being paid by the landlord, there is a chance the apartment is illegal. Sharing the utility bill shows that the unit is not metered and therefore the bill is accounting for the whole property. The landlord can as well take advantage and overcharge the tenant for utility bills considering it is not known exactly what they owe.
Low ceilings- there are building codes and regulations that need to be followed for the development of a safe living environment for people. The ceiling, for instance, should be kept at a minimum of 7’6″ vertical height from the ground. If you find the ceiling any lower than that, there is a high chance the apartment id illegal and it is best to keep off from it.
Inhabitable conditions- even though these inhabitable conditions do not necessarily make a building illegal they could be an indication of an illegal structure for which you can research to find out the truth.
When on the search for serviced apartments, either online or physically, it is essential to do adequate research to find one that best suits your needs as well as those which are verified and legal. The best way to ensure their authenticity is by using trusted and licensed agents or service providers like APT212 who have experience in the industry and agents on the ground who can show you available apartment minimizing the probability of you being targeted by unscrupulous opportunists.