With around 25,000 University of Colorado students searching for rental properties in and around Boulder, you're going to have to get started looking soon.

Local experts recommend beginning your search for the perfect place at the end of January and signing a lease by the end of February.

But in your search for a new property, keep in mind that things aren't always as they seem.

Here are a few warning signs that the place you're checking out isn't as flawless as you think. If you spot these scary details, grab your cash and run the other way.

1 Stank

When the front door opens, if the first thing you notice is a rancid smell... run for your life.

Not only is this unpleasant for a tenant, but it probably means there's something more going on or they would have taken care of the smell before they showed you the place.

Odors from pets, gasoline and smoke won't go away with a little Febreeze.

Beware, it could be a permanent problem.

2 Pressure to pre-lease

Don't let the landlord pressure you into signing a lease.

Make sure you're comfortable with all aspects of the property before putting pen to paper. Check out the neighborhood, parking situation, utility costs and get all of your questions answered.

Don't rush into it. Take your time and make sure the decision you make is the right one.


Remember, you're locked in for a year, so don't let a landlord talk you into anything you're not comfortable with.

3 Dripping faucets

It's just a little dripping water, right? Wrong.

Leaking faucets, running toilets and a dirty appearance probably means the maintenance is not great. These are minor fixes that the landlord could quickly and easily take care of. But the fact that they didn't likely means you're not getting anything else fixed, either.

Watch out for landlords who don't take care of their properties.

4 Angry tenants

Talk to tenants who can tell you the truth about the property and the landlord.

Don't just trust everything the landlord tells you. They want you to sign a lease and pay them money. But tenants don't have anything to lose by telling you what's really up.

Ask about maintenance, noise, neighbors and any other concerns that you might have. You might be surprised what info they'll give up to make sure you don't make the same mistakes they do.

5 Promises

You've checked out the property and voiced a few concerns about the place to the owner.

To the landlord, that means you're not convinced and he doesn't yet have your money locked down. So he'll make all sorts of promises about what he can do to improve the place and meet your standards.

Sure, that sounds great, but get it in writing!

Just because they say they'll take care of you, doesn't mean they will. Trust no landlord when looking for a rental. Get everything in writing and keep a copy for your records.

They can't argue a promise made on paper with their signature.