When you apply for your rental home or apartment you know the landlord is going to do a background check on you to make sure they are not at risk. The same should go for you. You should make sure that you are not at risk by doing a background check on your new landlord before you sign on the dotted line.
Start with a simple Google search. The internet is the key to quickly uncovering something. Search the landlord's name and property address, as well as the property management company. If there is a review to be found, you will find it on Google!
Your local government agencies can give you a lot of free information. You can search for code violations, foreclosure proceedings, small claims court settlements and foreclosure proceedings. If you find any of these, a red flag should be raised and you should really think about finding a different place to rent.
Or future neighbors. Don't be shy. Yes, this may sound a bit creepy at first, but talk to the people that actually live there. Walk around and if you see someone outside, simply ask for a moment of their time. Explain to them that you are new to the area and thinking about moving into these apartments.
Ask them questions. Get a good pros and cons list. Is the landlord helpful if there is an issue? How long have they been there? If a tenant is there for a while, odds are you have a good landlord.
GO WITH YOUR GUT
Always trust your gut. It's usually right about most things. If you have hesitations, take some more time to look around and find a place that makes your mind rest easy. You don't want to move into a place that is going to cause you a constant headache.