How to Find For Rent by Owner Apartments: A Comprehensive Guide

You've probably heard of "for rent by owner" or privately owned apartments while searching for a new place to live. In fact, around 72.5% of available rental units are privately owned, so it's crucial to...

You've probably heard of "for rent by owner" or privately owned apartments while searching for a new place to live. In fact, around 72.5% of available rental units are privately owned, so it's crucial to understand the difference between traditional apartment rentals and for rent by owner properties. Here, we'll dive into the world of for rent by owner apartments, exploring what they are, how to find them, and what you need to know before renting one.

What Are For Rent by Owner Apartments?

For rent by owner apartments, also known as private owner rentals, are rental units leased directly by the property owner. Unlike traditional apartments managed by property management companies, you won't need to work with a leasing agent to rent a for rent by owner apartment. Instead, you'll communicate directly with the landlord throughout the rental application process. It's important to note that renting a for rent by owner apartment is different from subleasing or renting a condo, as there are unique considerations for each.

For Rent by Owner Apartments Finding a for rent by owner apartment can give you more flexibility and direct communication with the landlord.

How to Find For Rent by Owner Apartments

Finding a for rent by owner apartment requires a different approach than traditional apartment hunting. Here are a few strategies to help you find privately owned apartments for rent near you:

Private Owner Rentals on Listing Sites

Rental listing sites like Apartment List can help you find for rent by owner apartments. While it may not always be immediately apparent if a listing is for a private owner rental, there are a few clues to look out for. Many management company listings will include the company's name, while houses managed by companies often have watermarked images. You can also use messaging systems on these platforms to contact landlords directly and inquire about the management of the property.

For Rent by Owner Inquiry Template

Hello! I am writing to express my interest in the apartment available at [Property Address]. I am particularly interested in renting directly from the owner and would appreciate more information about the terms, rental rates, and any specific requirements. I'm happy to provide necessary information or references to facilitate the application process. Please feel free to contact me via email at [Email Address] or by phone at [Phone Number]. Thank you for considering my inquiry.

Social Media

Another digital option for finding for rent by owner apartments is to check out social media platforms. Facebook housing groups can be valuable tools for finding private landlords. Landlords choose to advertise on social media because it's often free, targeted, and effective. Additionally, you can easily contact the landlord directly through Facebook Messenger.

Browse Your Neighborhood for "For Rent" Signs

For rent by owner apartments are often discovered through more informal avenues. Take a stroll around the neighborhood you're interested in and keep an eye out for "For Rent" signs in yards or windows.

Websites for Vacation Rentals

While you may not find a long-term lease on vacation rental websites, they can be a great resource for finding privately owned rentals available for short-term or monthly use.

Contact Your Network

Asking your network is another effective way to find a private owner rental. However, keep in mind that these rentals are not typically found on traditional apartment listings. Additionally, private property owners often only have one rental available, so they may not have the same advertising needs as a large apartment complex.

Tips for Finding For Rent By Owner Rentals Utilize various strategies to find for rent by owner apartments that meet your needs and preferences.

Benefits of Private Owner Rentals

Renting a for rent by owner apartment offers several advantages compared to traditional rentals. Here are some of the main benefits:

Houses for Rent by Owner

For rent by owner rentals can include a variety of property types, such as single-family homes, condos, or townhomes. These options provide a different living experience compared to apartment complexes. For example, if you have a dog and need a backyard, a rental townhouse may be more suitable for you than an apartment in a large building.


Renting from private landlords often allows for more flexibility. With a good rental history, you may have more leniency in terms of month-to-month leases and pet policies. Additionally, if you have a lower credit score, privately owned apartments may be a better option as they often have more open lines of communication and less rigid credit requirements.

Potentially More Affordable Rent Rates

Many private rentals don't come with amenities like pool access or on-site gyms, which can result in lower rental rates. You'll also likely avoid fees associated with third parties like leasing agents, property management companies, or landscaping services. Private owners may pass these savings on to tenants, making them an attractive option, especially in high-cost-of-living cities or for those on a tight budget. Additionally, you may have the opportunity to negotiate rent down by taking care of lawn maintenance, shoveling, and general repairs yourself.

Easier Communication

When your primary point of communication is your landlord, submitting a maintenance request or addressing concerns becomes simpler. You won't have to wait for emails or phone calls to go through a property management company that handles numerous units. Instead, you can send a quick text or call your landlord directly.

Pros and Cons of Renting from Private Landlords Renting from private landlords offers advantages such as flexibility, affordability, and easier communication.

Drawbacks of Private Owner Rentals

While there are many benefits to renting from private owners, there are also some disadvantages to consider. Here are a few cons of renting a for rent by owner apartment:

Lack of Amenities

If you're accustomed to luxury apartment living, private-owned apartments may not offer the same extensive amenities found in larger apartment communities or complexes. However, you can still find rental homes with standard amenities like air conditioning and in-unit washer and dryer.

Prolonged Maintenance Requests

While making a maintenance request directly to your landlord may be easier, there's no guarantee that your request will be addressed quickly. In some cases, landlords may be limited by third-party schedules, or they may prefer a do-it-yourself approach to maintenance. Having a dedicated maintenance staff can be advantageous in these situations.

Harder to Find

For rent by owner rental homes can be more challenging to come across, as owners typically don't advertise on large apartment rental platforms. Prepare to put in more effort to find private apartment rentals. Keep an eye out for "for rent" signs in your neighborhood and reach out to your local network to see if anyone is renting out their space.

On-Site Landlords

Having an on-site landlord is relatively common, especially in duplexes or triplexes. In this scenario, your landlord collects rent from additional tenants to cover the mortgage payment. While this benefits the landlord, some renters may feel uncomfortable with their landlord living nearby. It may cause them to be more cautious about noise levels or hosting gatherings.

Questions to Ask a Private Owner Landlord

When considering renting from a private owner, it's essential to ask relevant questions to ensure a smooth rental experience. Here are some questions to ask prospective landlords:

  • How do maintenance requests work?
  • What's the typical timeline for addressing maintenance requests?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms are in the unit?
  • Are utilities included in the rent, or will I be responsible for covering them separately?
  • How do I pay rent?
  • Are there any house rules I should be aware of?
  • What is the guest policy?
  • What is the pet policy?
  • Where can I park my car?
  • What are the lease length options?
  • When is the move-in date?
  • Is the location bike-friendly and walkable?

Essential Questions to Ask Private Landlords Before Renting Prepare a list of questions to ask potential landlords to ensure a smooth rental experience.

Make Your Move: Start Apartment Hunting with Apartment List

Renting an apartment from a private landlord is similar to renting from a property management company, but there are unique considerations. To find the perfect place for you, start by determining your apartment preferences and then search for private owner rentals that meet your needs. Ready to begin your apartment hunt? Take our quiz now to discover the best options that match your preferences!