Special Notice (Always Seek Professional Representation): Also, we have watched many renters attempt to broker their own rental deals, only to learn the hard way when they receive eviction/pre-foreclosure notices in as fast as the day after they unpack their belongings and even sometimes before they can even unload their trucks. One of our short sale renters (against my recommendation) decided to leave our short sale renter program; rented from a private owner; paid a $5000.00 deposit; started moving in and was served that evening. In this market, it pays to seek the counsel of and/or hire a Real Estate professional. Here is a free nugget for you, simply ask the owner for a written solvency statement that tells you that they (the owners) are 100% up to date on their payments. They may be behind on their mortgage or have tied their free and clear property up as a secured collarated. The main thing is that you should know where you stand and what you are facing from day one and that means "No Surprises"! "Fair is Fair"! An unscrupulous owner/landlord will usually be offended or even become angry and refuse to rent to you just as you are handing them your hard earned money. Others may be absolutely honest and offer concessions and work with you to resolve any issues before thay become your nightmares. Buyers and renters Beware!