Who pays the screening fee?

13 Replies

I don't use Cozy.co, but my tenants pay for their screening.  It's actually part of my screening- if they don't have the funds, they probably won't qualify.  If they can't pass the background check they'll still risk it if you are paying, and might not if they are paying for it.  If they aren't paying in person, it is also a chance to see if they can manage to pay using our preferred method- a Quickbooks e mailed invoice- that way I know they can pay their rent that way too.

There are some markets where landlords pay for background checks, so if you are in one of those then you should pay it. The only time I have paid for the background check was when we buy a house with tenants already in place- if they want a new lease after theirs runs out they have to pass our background checks. Since it isn't their fault the previous owner didn't require a background check or didn't pass on the results to us, I pay for it.

Hi @Logan Singleton ,

I agree with the others that the applicant pays for this fee, and depending on where you advertise your listing, they may already expect this cost.  I've never used Cozy specifically, but if you list on Zillow, the applicant pays about $30 and can use the same application and screening report for as many apartments as they want for a month.  

Good luck!

We use cozy and the tenant pays for screening. Send them your link for screening/application, have them pay and complete and you will get notified when reports are ready.

Greetings to All!

Cost is factored into the building of my pipeline.  I haven't been on the BP site for many years now.  Tell Josh I said Hi!

My lack of participation has been due to  some personal reasons....  

Every aspect of a transaction could possibly be an important ingredient.  In order to put a transaction together, one needs a buyer, seller, house and money.  If you have most of the ingredients, it's easy to factor in the remainder.  Don't throw a good house away because it doesn't fit a certain transaction and likewise, don't throw a good buyer away because he/she doesn't fit a certain house. 

Anyway, I took a different market approach after the meltdown.   My thinking stemmed from 3 basic questions:

  1. How can I find home buying clients before they know that they were going to be clients?
  2. How much would I be willing to pay to find and develop these clients?
  3. Is there anyway to create a system whereby a prospective home buying client would pay for his/her own development?  In other words, "Why not create a system that causes a prospect to pay me in order to do future business with me?"  Now that's a novel thought...LOL.

Then, I considered the biggest problem facing many individuals with challenged credit attempting to enter the rental market and merged the two issues together.  The problem of REPEATEDLY PAYING APPLICATION FEES is a real problem to those in the rental market.  There's money on the ground!

So, I developed a system whereby the prospect pays a one (1) time application fee which enables them to obtain rental processing anytime within the year based on predetermined criteria,(i.e. price point, area, type of house ect...), and this one time fee also includes a one (1) year enrollment into my credit analysis program to process and move them toward home ownership (Funnel Pipeline).

This is a paradigm shift in one's view towards the market for sure and many don't get it.......LOL.

@Logan Singleton I do not use cozy but the tenants pays for screening directly to the 3rd party then I get the report (don’t recall who we used but the one all realtors have access too). This also prevents me from getting and being responsible for the security of my tenants social security numbers.

I also have the applicants pay for the screening.  Like @Kelly N. , I consider it part of the screening process.  I clearly spell out my rental criteria upfront and if the applicant isn't willing, or isn't able, to pay the small/nominal screening fee, it's not a good sign and - in my opinion - helps weed out what probably isn't a qualified applicant.

Tenant pays.... I use Cozy and just send the link......app is free and I tell owners to only pay the credit/background IF they meet my criteria and are really interested. It's NON-REFUNDABLE and I don't see a dime of the $$...... many tenant thinks this is some revenue stream for landlords..... its a break even at best.

I don't understand the landlords that don't pass this expense to the tenant but to each his own....

Our written policy is to require applicants to pay the fee. It is part of screening. BUT, I have waved it for single moms, and actually skipped it for law enforcement folks (who make $100k) and a teacher who had great references. These 2 folks have background checks done as part of their careers. They also went into SF homes- in my duplexes I always do the credit and criminal background for safety/liability.

Tenants pay it, but don't do it until you have reviewed their application and verified references, etc.. At this point, if everything they have said on their application is true then they should pass, as long as you are clear about your expectations. I use SmartMove, which works similar to Cozy.