What’s in an application fee?

What’s in an application fee?

When you apply for a rental property, most companies require that you pay an application fee. How much varies from agent to agent, company to company, making everything more confusing. Why is an application fee charged?

  1. To Pay for Tenant Screening Most companies have tenant selection criteria, and need to pull various reports and pay services to make sure you meet those requirements. Application fees go towards criminal background checks, credit histories, and employment verification just to name a few services.
  2. To Pay For Time Verifying landlord references and scanning applications for missing information takes up an employees time. Application fees are a way for the rental company to recoup a small percentage of the time an employee spends processing applications.
  3. To Gauge Seriousness of Applicants If the applicant isn’t willing to pay for processing, it’s hard to consider the application seriously. If we can’t get the fee, it might also be hard to get deposits, rent, etc.

Some of the hesitation comes from people worried that they won’t qualify for the property, especially if they have bad credit. Ask the landlord before you pay what they use as their tenant selection criteria. If they aren’t able to give any to you, you might want to find another home or work with an agent that can help you determine if you qualify.



Application fees aren’t chump change

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