I'm in a situation where I will need to rent an apartment without the ability to see it or meet the landlord/sublessor first. This creates a trust issue that I'm not sure how to address.
Most postings require a security deposit to be made before moving in, which is understandable. Were I to end up not showing up, the lessor would have wasted time and lost the opportunity to make money by not renting the room out to another tenant. Some other worries from the lessor's perspective are also outlined in this question.
But as a potential lessee I feel uncomfortable transferring funds before I have house keys in hand. Housing scams are supposedly common on internet markets and the most common advice I see for avoiding them is to avoid wiring funds before meeting the lessor/seeing the room.
So the main question I have is, what is a protocol for paying a security deposit that is safe for both the lessor and lessee?
Is there a payment method that leaves enough of a trail that, should I be cheated, I would have a reasonable chance of getting my money back with help from my bank/law enforcement/the justice system?
Could an escrow service be used for this purpose?