Know Before You Rent

Are the Processing Fees Being Charged by a Landlord Fair or Not?

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In addition to rent, landlords do have the ability to charge certain processing fees. But what is considered the standard for landlord fees?

Security deposit – Many landlords will charge for a security deposit. Sometimes it will be the total of one month’s rent, other times it will be a set dollar figure. This money is usually collected before the tenant moves in, and will be paid back to the tenant upon moving out if all facets of the lease agreement were met during the duration of the contract.

Pet deposit – Landlords often will charge a fee – or add additional fees to the monthly rental payment – if a pet is added to the apartment. This money is to cover any damage or cleaning fees the landlord may have upon the tenant’s vacancy of the apartment. The amount of this fee varies, and tenants will have to make their own determination of what they consider fair.

Cleaning fee – Many lease agreements will stipulate the tenant either pay a cleaning fee upon moving out of the apartment, or hire specialists to do the work upon vacating the apartment. Cleaning fees often include carpet cleaning and repainting of the walls.

Application/new tenant processing fee – Landlords often conduct a rental history report check for applicants, looking for any prior history that may make the tenant a bad fit for the apartment. The cost of these screenings can be passed on to the tenant when the lease agreement is signed.

One way to know if the fee is reasonable is to conduct your own rental history report check first. Not only will you be able to see all the information reported about you – and double check that the information is accurate – but you also will know if the landlord’s fee is reasonable.