When I rented my current place, the landlord required payment of the $500 security deposit along with the application fee, making it clear that if I were approved, and decided not to sign a lease, they weren't giving it back. Moot as I'm here now, but is that at all a standard practice?
They steal whatever the law allows. Check with a tenant's rights hotline.
No. Long time renter here and I never had to leave a security deposit until move in.
wow that's a new one, OP. Same as r2.
I would not have applied. If that's how they treat me when they're trying to get me to sign, imagine how they will be as my landlord. It also suggests that many people who were accepted have turned them down in the past. There is probably a reason.
It can't be legal.
I have never had that happen. Doesn't sound legal at all, sounds like gouging. There is no contract consideration for him to keep the deposit if a tenant is not accepted. What would keep him from just rejecting EVERYONE and keeping a pile of money, then? Every contract has to have a mutual benefit/detriment. Money for an apartment is the usual deal. In this instance, you would receive NO benefit and he would get to keep the $500.00. That is not a legal agreement. Oh, you can agree to a "nonrefundable fee" of some sort in an agreement but I don't think a COURT would uphold this. It is unconscionable. It is inequitable. The landlord has ALL the bargaining power. Tenant/applicant has none.
Someone should REPORT this guy to..well, somewhere. Some state agency? Anyone know?
Many scam artists pretending to be landlords do this. They then collect the $ and disappear - having had zero connection to the property.
Depending on your state, that may well be illegal. And it is definitely not standard practice.
The last few times I moved, I was charged a non-refundable $25-$35 "application fee".
Application fees are standard now (another scam, of course, but a fairly standard practice). However, I was once charged a $25 application fee just to LOOK at an apartment. Once I saw the place, I ended up not liking it and having no interest in it anyway.
I was a naive 20 year old when this happened, and thought maybe it was fairly standard. If it ever happened again I'd just tell them to fuck off.
This is not a security deposit, it is an application fee and probably illegal.
I'm going to show my apartment every weekend from now on and request $500 to apply to rent it. Then I'll just keep my apartment and not rent it. See how many people I can get to pay my rent for me with such a win-win deal.
You people need reading comprehension lessons, though OP was deliberately vague.
The landlord would have kept the $500 only if the application is approved.
Lots of people in NY apply for apartments with checkbooks in hand. They hand over the check, and wait for the landlord to approve the application.
Actually this happened to me once when I submitted a deposit with my application, the landlord picked me to rent to but I changed my mind about the apartment. The landlord refused to let me cancel so instead I stopped payment on the check. I offered to pay the returned check fee but they just wrote me off and moved on.
I had to pay a fee at the time of application for an apartment I got in Downtown Chicago in 2009 but it was in lieu of a security deposit. I think it was actually to reserve the price and apartment so they couldn't rent it to someone else. I remember being annoyed about it because the first time I looked at the apartment I didn't pay it and then when I didn't find anything better and came back the price of the apartment I wanted had gone up.
There is consideration, R6. OP is paying for the privilege of being evaluated, and an option on the apartment which will be held for him a certain period of time. Contract law does not require a bargain to be sensible.
It did happen to me once except I was told the money would be returned if I decided not to rent. This was only one of many bizarre things about the landlord. I passed, and the money was returned.
[quote] Application fees are standard now (another scam, of course, but a fairly standard practice). However, I was once charged a $25 application fee just to LOOK at an apartment. Once I saw the place, I ended up not liking it and having no interest in it anyway.
Application fees are indeed now a standard practice, and a MAJOR money making scheme for mortgage companies.
Think about it... one apartment to rent, 80 applications and $25 application fees. That's an extra $2000 for the mortgage company, just to have people apply for an apartment. It's a complete and total scam, and it should be against the law.
Another question is, how are people with bad credit supposed to find housing?
If good credit is a pre-requisite in order to rent an apartment, what does a person do if they have bad credit? Just be homeless?
The system for finding decent and affordable rentals nowdays, is totally ridiculous and unfair.
@R16, in a lot of cases, it depends on why your credit is bad.
R16 It's not a mortgage company collecting the deposit, it is a property management co. They do have to pay for the credit report from Equifax or whoever which costs about $15. Without decent credit you are screwed.
One remedy I know of was when a tenant gave 12 checks post dated up front to the landlord. If the check bounced the landlord had cause for eviction as well as a complaint for passing bad checks. (In a red state where they can bounce your ass out of an apartment FAST)
[quote]The last few times I moved, I was charged a non-refundable $25-$35 "application fee".
This is what the credit and criminal background costs. The landlord is simply passing this cost on to applicants.
First of all, if the security deposit was 500$, where are you living? Even if it is one month's rent, this place is a bargain.
No, he can't get a security deposit from you if you did not move in. It's against the law. Be very, very careful with landlords. I have taken a couple to court. The last one stole my security and opened up an account in my name without my knowledge.
Do you have a lawyer?
Here in Florida, they charge first, last AND security, and many places now have not only a pet security deposit along with it, but also pet "rent" every month.
How the hell do they get away with it?
One of these days someone is going to figure out how to charge you for the air you breath.
[quote] This is what the credit and criminal background costs.
I have two words for you: BULL SHIT.
Sounds shady as hell. I wouldn't have done it OP. That can't be legal.
I have terrible credit and no one to cosign for me but I need to get an apartment. People tell me to look at "by-owner" apartments but they're surprisingly hard to come by. I wish there was a way around this.
The Security Deposit is there in case you trash the place when you move out. You want your money back, dont trash the place.
But what this guy is trying to say is he docent want you to back out of a deal and if you do the money is his. THAT is NOT a security deposit.
There is no such thing as security to hold the apartment based on the owners whims.
Actually what he is saying is he wants a 500 non refundable application fee. That would be unheard of too. $25 to $35 tops.
What is this "rent" thing???
I specifically asked whether the deposit was refundable if my application was denied, and was told that it was. As I was fairly certain that I'd be signing, I went along. I'm not going to bring it up with their management, but all I can think of was that they'd been "stung" by folks who dragged out lease signings, then bailed, so that they missed out on the rent for that month?
To clarify: the application fee itself was something like $45, in addition to this.
Of the $500, half is completely non-refundable, so that if turnover cleaning and "damage" is below $250, they get to keep the difference; my last place I had the same deal with a $300 deposit, and their itemized expenses only came to $96. They, however, did keep last month's rent for several years.
I'm assuming that the company has a lawyer who approved this as a "legal" policy.