How to Find an Apartment Rental Not in a Complex

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Upscale Apartment Building in Kensington, London UK |

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If you’re looking to rent an apartment that’s not in an apartment complex, odds are you’re looking for a ‘for rent-by-owner‘ apartment or a single individual apartment to rent. This means a single landlord, instead of a property management company that operates and rents out multiple apartments in a larger apartment building.

Considerations for Finding an Apartment Not in a Complex

Before proceeding with your search, be aware of some of the potential downsides of apartments not in a complex / for rent by owner, including:

  • Possibility of scams
  • Maintenance Delays
  • Lack of Amenities
  • Slower Service
  • No 24/7 Emergency Service
  • Possibility of Non-Licensed Unit

Check out more here on disadvantages of renting from private owner. Having said that, if you’re still interested in finding an apartment not in a complex, keep reading…

How to Find a For-Rent-by-Owner Apartment

Duplex is a Private Rental |

Browse any rental website and you’ll see pages of results for apartment complexes. But finding a smaller apartment isn’t always so simple. To make your search a little easier, you’ll need to try a less formal avenue. Consider the following tips.

Take a Walk Around Your Neighborhood

Many smaller apartment rentals, especially those located on the floor of a house, will advertise an apartment for rent with a lawn sign. Take a walk around your desired neighborhood, and write down the contact information for any rental apartments that catch your eye.

Neighborhood with Apartments |

Use Social Media

If you’re looking to keep your apartment hunt digital, social media sites may be a great place to start. You can find apartment rentals on sites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist (be wary of scams on all these sources though).

Check the Bottom of Apartment Listing Websites

A little-known trick is to scroll to the bottom of major apartment listing websites like Trulia, Zillow, and

Once on these major apartment listing websites, you can scroll past the apartment complexes and find an individual owner. You’ll want to first type in the zip code you are interested in. Again, be wary of scams still.

Assess Your Needs and Be Creative

Consider what you need. For example, if you’re only looking for short-term needs, vacation rental sites such as Airbnb or Vrbo might have exactly what you’re looking for. While you may not find an apartment available for 12 months on a vacation rental site, you could find one for 6 months or less.

Ask Your Network

Talk To Friends Before Deciding to Move |

You never know which one of your friends has an acquaintance or family member who is looking to rent an apartment. It may be worth it to ask around your friend group, coworkers and family members to see if anyone knows of available apartments for rent.

Apartment Complex vs Apartment: What’s the Difference?

An apartment is a single dwelling unit or apartment.

An apartment building is typically defined as 4 or more apartments in a single structure.

An apartment complex is two or more apartment buildings.

Apartments not in a complex also known as rent-by-owner apartments, likely have less than 4 units.

The exact definitions are not too important as everyone defines it differently, but these are how most would define it.

*whenever looking for apartments and especially apartments not in a complex, exercise good judgment, be wary of scams, and always do your own diligence.


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