Cross Country Move For Prospective Tenant- Holding Fee?

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Hey all!

I have a duplex in Oregon and I have a very well qualified prospective candidate I'd love to rent to who is interested. The problem is he isn't moving here (from the East coast) until the end of this month, we are open and ready to rent out our unit, which rents for $1,400. He is very interested and I know he wouldn't expect us to just take a month long hit on our finances to hold it for him. I've seen others require holding fee's and then just transfer that money to their security deposit but that doesn't help on the month of rent we'd be losing to hold it. Does anyone know if it's legal to charge a daily, non-refundable holding fee? Like half of what we'd get in rent or??? I know I could do the security deposit thing but I'm not loving that idea. Thanks in advance for any help!

I had a situation like this with actually my very first tenant.  I definitely required a holding deposit paid up-front that would turn into their security deposit, on move-in.  I also required the lease signed.  I was looking at having about a one month vacancy (September of that year) also.  I expressed my concern about that to the tenants and (before we signed the lease) we all came to an agreement that their lease would start on Sept. 15th, even though they weren't moving in until Oct. 1st.  I typically collect first month's rent on move-in.  If I were to do something like this again, I'd probably require the first month's rent paid ahead of time also.  In this case I didn't but, fortunately, it all worked out.   

In fact, they contacted me about a week after we signed the lease and I'd received their holding deposit and asked if it was okay if they moved in during the last week of September.  Of course it was!  Their lease already covered that time period and the place was move-in ready.  So it ended up being more of a win for them also because, when things worked out for them to move one week sooner than they'd planned, they could jump on it.

As an aside, I am so glad they were my first experience with tenants.  They were great and an absolute pleasure to work with.  I wish they'd never left and that I could clone them, lol.  But they bought their own house in the same neighborhood about a year later. 

While I usually won't rent to anyone who hasn't physically viewed the property, if you're planning on renting to him, why don't you just let him know he'll need to take it now or within x days, signing lease, paying security and prorated rent for October, if he wants to lock it in.  Otherwise, you cannot hold the unit.  I've had tenants take a unit earlier than they preferred when I let them know that I give greater consideration to applicants willing to take possession within 7 days of unit being vacant.  

I don't consider a unit "held" for someone unless there's a signed lease and a security deposit in hand. So basically, we don't hold units for anyone for any reason. Either they pay deposit and sign lease, or risk losing the unit to someone else. 

As long as they have signed a sight unseen addendum, I'm not worried about someone moving into a house without seeing it. They're acknowledging they haven't seen it and accept the unit in its current condition