‘For Rent By Owner’ is a term used in the real estate industry and it is almost exactly what it sounds like.
The term ‘for rent by owner’ (“FRBO”) describes when an apartment or home is rented out directly by the owner or landlord themselves, as opposed to via a broker or leasing agent.
You will notice FRBO is more common in small apartment buildings with less than 4 units.
Advantages of Renting from an Owner
- Potentially being able to have a more personal relationship with the landlord.
- It may be possible to negotiate your rent and deposit with an individual landlord.
- You may have more flexibility with rental requirements.
Disadvantages of Renting from an Owner Directly
While there are potential advantages, there are also potential disadvantages to renting from a small individual owner. Some of them include:
- The owner could decide to move back into his or her house and no longer rent it out
- Lack of payment flexibility – often there is no option to make online payments.
- Difficult to get quick responses in cases of repair needs, since being a landlord is likely not his/her primary occupation.
- Unlikely to be 24/7 Emergency Service (i.e. say your Air Conditioner stops working in the middle of hot summer day, and your landlord is sleeping)
- Unlikely to be amenities
- Unlikely be snowplow or landscaping service
How to Find ‘For Rent by Owner’ Apartments?
If you are thinking of renting directly from an owner, the best way to do that is to do a Google search typing in ‘For rent by owner apartments in <city name>’ or ‘FRBO Apartments in <city name>’
Other ways to find For Rent By Owner (FRBO) apartments can be on websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Local Newspaper, Community Boards, and similar listing services (but beware of scams and do your own research).
This should give you some options, allowing you to decide what works best for you.
Is there a middle ground?
One potential middle ground to FRBO apartments is finding a locally owned apartment management company that takes pride in ownership, can provide the personal service you are looking for, but with the benefits of a professionally managed community such as amenities, 24/7 Service, landscaping & snow removal, responsive maintenance, etc.
Of course, every situation is different. Do your research and ask the right questions before signing a lease, regardless of whether you do an FRBO or not.