Are you prepping to sign an apartment lease for the first time next semester? Before you add your name to some complicated document, you might want to put on the breaks and check out this article from MSN.com. Shady landlords are on the rise, and according to the news site you could be a victim if you're not careful – especially if you go to school near a big city like New York, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco.
Personally, I've had more than my fair share of sketchy landlords and had to deal with everything from a high-strung gay Broadway hairdresser who didn't think anything of letting himself into my apartment without permission, to a 26-year-old casanova that couldn't be bothered to fix my stove (forcing me to call the manufacturer myself and pay for repairs out of pocket).
I wish I could say that this type of behavior isn't the norm, but experts say it's actually on the rise (as more and more people lose their homes to foreclosure and flood the market with new applicants). Word to the wise: Trust your instincts, talk to other people in the building, and don't sign anything until you've had your parents or their attorney look over the paperwork. Living on your own can be an amazing experience, but sometimes the cons can outweigh the pros.