Author Topic: application fee BEFORE submitting?  (Read 931 times)

nereo

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application fee BEFORE submitting?
« on: December 11, 2020, 07:53:10 AM »
First time being a renter for over a decade...

I've got a landlord who wants to charge $50 per adult for as an application fee.  That's $100 for my wife and I  - not terribly out of the ordinary.  I checked and my state's law permits such a practice.

BUT - the landlord won't send me the application until after I pay $100.  that seems odd (scam?).  Application fees are supposed to cover the costs of running background and credit checks - no application, no cost to the landlord, right? 

Should I be worried?  This is all being done online - property was listed both on CL and Zillow.

Also:  Landlord says I can't view the property until after paying the application and undergoing a background check, "due to COVID".

PoutineLover

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2020, 07:58:13 AM »
Definitely sounds like a scam. I would not do this. In my area it's not normal to charge application fees, but even if it was it would be ridiculous to pay that before even seeing the place.

sailinlight

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2020, 08:10:40 AM »
Even if it's legitimate, I wouldn't want this guy as my landlord.

ixtap

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2020, 09:05:32 AM »
Even if it's legitimate, I wouldn't want this guy as my landlord.

Ditto.

Omy

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2020, 09:18:11 AM »
I'm a retired realtor. This sounds sketchy at best. I recommend working with a realtor who specializes in rentals. There are a lot of scams out there, and a realtor will be able to help you avoid them. I also recommend checking public records to make sure your potential landlord is paying their mortgage. You might sign up for a lease and get an eviction notice a couple months later from the landlord's bank (because the landlord is taking rent but not paying bills.)

nereo

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2020, 09:19:36 AM »
Even if it's legitimate, I wouldn't want this guy as my landlord.

Ditto.

I guess where I'm questioning it is this has been all done over email thus far.
hard to judge things that way.

nereo

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2020, 09:21:51 AM »
Definitely sounds like a scam. I would not do this. In my area it's not normal to charge application fees, but even if it was it would be ridiculous to pay that before even seeing the place.
you are in QC, right?  We lived there too.  Different laws and expectations - here they can (and almost all do) charge a full-month's rent as a deposit as well as requiring first/last (so a $1,500 rental means writing a $4,500 cheque up front).  I've also noticed that teh majority of landlords seem to charge an application fee of $25-50 up front (also legal).  This is the first time I've encountered someone saying I needed to pay in order to get the application.

Jon Bon

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2020, 04:12:48 PM »
I mean yeah its a pretty stupid way to do business. But it also feels like a pretty stupid way to scam people?

My guess is he is just a dumb/bad/grumpy landlord

FWIW I show people properties even before even discussing an application. After a showing I then  send them one. They can fill it out or not. I don't care. I don't make much if any off the applications. I make money off renting houses. Applications are a loss leader. Generally stealing security deposits after the lease is over is the standard dick landlord move.

So in conclusion: I would not send him then money first. Money is submitted with the application, and the intent to move forward on renting the property. $50 is probably fair depending on the city.




spartana

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2020, 04:49:27 PM »
I've seen lots of similar requested by landlords - pay the application fee/credit check and, if approved,  then submit an online application before even being allowed to view a place IRL. It seems very sketchy to me too and, even if it was legit, I wouldn't do either until I viewed the place  in person. Even in covid times there are ways to view a place and social distance, bring a recent credit report to show the landlord, and then do an application and pay for another credit check if needed.

SndcxxJ

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2020, 10:49:48 AM »
Before covid I considered switching to such a method of having applicants apply before viewing the property, but chose against it.  My reasoning for considering such a move was I was experiencing a little more than 100 interested parties per week and it was just more volume than I could handle.  I thought such a move might save myself some time by having only the most interested people actually coming to view the property.  Is it possible that the demand in your area is so high they are just trying to discourage shoppers and not really interested applicants?  I understand that paying before receiving application is a bit different but maybe the reasoning is the same.

GizmoTX

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2020, 11:05:20 AM »
We encountered this years ago, for ourselves as well as DS, not just during the pandemic. Completely unacceptable. Preys on the new & unwary. It smacks of harvesting fees from rejected applications, not to mention discovering unacceptable properties after the fee.

I insisted on seeing a sample copy of the lease as well as viewing the property. Photos or videos can easily hide its condition. It helps to have a great credit rating, but showing proof of financial resources is an acceptable substitute.

Villanelle

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2020, 01:43:03 PM »
No way would I do this.  You can't even view the property?  Nope.

GreenEggs

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2020, 06:28:56 PM »
Remember the "kick me" signs kids would stick onto other kids' backs?


Paying $100 for the privilege of having an application sent to you is like a landlord shopping for tenants who are dumb (or desperate)  enough to put a "kick me" sign on their own backs! 

Goldielocks

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2020, 05:35:53 PM »
Okay, there is a 50% chance of scam.   I have paid an application fee before (in the US), but only at the time I viewed the place.  It looks like a reasonable fee is allowed in your state. 

At this point, the application fee should only be taken if it is guaranteed that they would rent to you if your credit is acceptable.  Which is weird for LL to guarnatee without meeting you.    Meanwhile you don't even know yet if you want to rent the place.... do you?

What do you need to have happen to agree to rent the place?  Can you do that early so that the landlord can stop listing it? 

To check for scammer -- you could ask for a specific type of photo, eg., take a photo from the ad (kitchen?) that was already posted and ask landlord to take a new photo while holding up three fingers, with his face in the photo.  Ask for a photo of their drivers license to confirm their name and image against this new photo?  Explain about scammers which is the reason for your precautions.

What else can you do?  Meet landlord, masked, outside, and check their id and hand over the fee? 

You will get crickets if it is a scammer and you ask for any of the above.

I do agree that LL does not want to disturb existing renters, BUT! I just finished finding a rental (early Nov),  and everyone  (I saw about 9 places) was showing the units in person, they just arranged one day with the tenant having usually stepped out for that time, everyone masked, and hand sanitizer / no touching rule.  The agent would wipe down door handles or anything you might have touched.  This is a pretty mask-compliant region, too.

So, I guess I am back to scammer.   I found a lot of scam ads on Craigslist for rentals.

MissPeach

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2020, 05:53:53 PM »
I moved out of a rental during covid and the property manager arranged 2 days to show the property. I'm agreeing it sounds like a scam.

Mr. Green

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2020, 07:54:35 AM »
In our area people tour a place before submitting an application because many don't want to apply after viewing (don't like the layout, etc). An application fee is collected once the application is submitted, not before. Feels like red flags all over the place. I wouldn't give them money ahead of time.

Dicey

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2020, 01:13:31 PM »
That guy has nothing you want to be mixed up in. Keep looking.

nereo

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Re: application fee BEFORE submitting?
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2020, 01:16:24 PM »
That guy has nothing you want to be mixed up in. Keep looking.

Yup - that's what I've gotten from all of this.  Thanks to everyone who chimed in.

Mildly upset that there are so many obvious scams and sub-part landlords out there.