This happened a number of years ago when I was helping my husband (then boyfriend) look for an apartment. We went to look at this one that sounded nice in the paper, but turned out to be in a horrible location right across from the railroad terminal. Dinky two-room apartment, dingy walls, skanky bed that folded down from the wall, and the whole place was wired with phone line instead of standard electrical wiring. (Can we say Extreme Fire Hazard?) As she was showing it to us, the woman who owned it was telling us that she would need first & last month's rent and a security deposit. And that she accepted televisions and electronics as collateral, but only recent ones in good condition. WTF?
We decide to disentangle ourselves from this relatively quickly so my husband tells the lady that we'll have to think about it.
Her response: "Well, if you want it you need to tell me very soon. I have people looking at it tomorrow who have the money for rent."