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Just as most landlords or real estate brokers will want to screen you to prove you are qualified to rent their property, you should make every attempt to verify that you're dealing with a reputable owner or broker. When you're dealing with others on a long distance basis, it becomes more important to try to ensure you're dealing with honest people.
Just as you've conducted a successful search for Los Angeles apartments for rent through the Internet, you can perform, at least, a superficial screening of a prospective landlord using the ‘Net. You can verify addresses, phone numbers, and other information. If you find conflicting results, you can even perform a background check if you feel the need.
To help finalize a deal, you can ask that the landlord email the potential rental agreement or lease to you. You can then use the ‘Net to view other standard or common agreements to compare with the one you've been sent. If any inconsistencies are apparent, don't try to become a real estate legal expert. Have a real estate lawyer look at your prospective agreement and give you advice. A few dollars spent in prevention might save you thousands should you sign a problem agreement.
If everything checks out with your chosen Los Angeles home rental and your prospective landlord, make your deal. Using the Internet, you've saved time, money, and aggravation. You'll see that problems, while very rare, can often be solved quickly and effectively.