Know Before You Rent

Don’t Let Your Application Fee Go for Naught

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When you’re looking for housing, there are fees to consider aside from only the rent you’ll pay when you move into your new place. There’s the security deposit, paying for movers (or taking the time off to do it yourself), fuel costs spent driving between your old and new home and the various supplies you’ll inevitably need to buy once you move. These additional costs can climb into the hundreds or even thousands.

An oft-forgotten hidden cost of moving is the application fee. It’s not uncommon for landlords to collect this fee, but it should be under the assumption that you will be the one who signs the lease if everything checks out. Always confirm this with the landlord before paying an application fee.

But for most landlords, collecting this fee is simply a mechanism to recoup their costs of paying for a rental history report. Often, they will simply charge the tenant the fee of running a report, and only charge tenants they intend to rent to, so as not to waste anyone’s time or money. However, if an issue of concern comes up on your rental history check that causes a landlord to think twice about your rental agreement, you might be left with nothing to show for your application fee.

So how do you avoid this problem? Get your own rental history report to make sure it’s free of issues that might prevent you from renting. And if there are issues, you can discuss them with your landlord before you pay the application fee.