Are rental companies who take money for services upfront legal and above board

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Are rental companies who take money for services upfront legal and above board

I came across a listing for an apartment in my area within my price range, and upon contacting the number listed, I found out this was actually through a company that refuses to show apartments or let you contact building managers or see pictures until you pay them at least $135 for their service packages. I am uncomfortable with the idea of paying money upfront just to see apartments that are convenient for me, and want to know what my legal recourse would be should they actually turn out to be cons. Searched for reviews and found none, though their site claims they have operated for 7 years.

Asked on June 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Janet Martin / Janet Martin Attorney at Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Sounds like a scam. you didn't mention what their "service packages" consisted of; if it is just to show you available places, no need to pay for that...if they provide some interesting services, well maybe that's how they stay "legal" but I would not use them. You can find places for rent yourself or through any real estate agent, who will help you for no charge to you...drive by the place you want to see, there may be a manager's office on site, or a different phone #...it could very well be a scam


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