rental application fee

6 Replies

An applicant visited our house and showed great interest in the house and submitted application onsite but on my way home. I received a text message from her saying they didn't think they would pass the screening process and didn't want to waste their money. They would like to withdraw the application and asked me to mail their application fee back. On the application form, it says, the application fee is non refundable but I have not started the processing process yet. Should I refund her or do I have to refund her? I spent 3 hours with showing the house to her. 

Any input will be appreciated!

Yes, I would and have sent back applications and the fee.

I frankly cannot imaging spending three hours showing someone a rental.  Three minutes is more typical.

I am very up front about my screening criteria. We discuss that on the phone and I explicitly ask "is any of that going to be a problem."

@Ping W.  Give them the money and good thing they aren't a tenant.

That is up to you, but remember whatever you do per Fair Housing you have to do to all. I personally create established criteria and then enforce it. So if you decide its not refundable, I would have it on the application where they sign that says its is non-refundable even if they withdraw the application etc.

I would just send it back.  Your app fee is a low dollar amount, right?  People get peeved about anything. Why have drama for a few bucks?

And how did you spend 3 hours showing one house?  If I see an applicant spend 30 seconds looking at a house, I know they're not interested in the house. 

The last one that came to one of my places spent about 20 minutes looking.  She looked at every room, then stood and thought for a bit, then said she liked it, then went back through each room and took video with commentary to show her husband (who couldn't be there). 

The ones who don't look very well just need a place to stay.  The ones who check out every room, measure the rooms, imagine where they're going to put their furniture -- they are looking for a home.

Thank you for all the input. Just so you know why I spend 3 hours showing the house. Here is what happened. The couple looked at the house and they liked it very much. While they were looking, her mom called and wanted to see the house too. We have to wait for her mom to come and show her again and they also spend more than 30 min to fill in the application and took another 20 min to find the application fee. I asked $30/each but they could only find $40 at the end.

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