Landlord wants application via Zillow prior to viewing?

5 Replies

Hi all,

There's a home I'm interested in renting that I saw on Zillow and reached out to the landlord. She is saying that she needs for me to apply via Zillow (there's a $29 universal credit/background check that can apply towards other rental applications for the next 30 days) *PRIOR* to viewing the house... not sure if due to COVID or just wanting to screen out a bunch of people for a smaller pool of more serious potential tenants. 

Is this pretty 'standard' practice and ok to oblige to (no red/yellow flags)? 


I used to think the same as you 


no that I am the house/apt owner I do the same 


no point showing a house to someone who can’t qualify.  Too many qualified people who are willing to do this to worry about who are not 

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :

I used to think the same as you 


no that I am the house/apt owner I do the same 


no point showing a house to someone who can’t qualify.  Too many qualified people who are willing to do this to worry about who are not 

 Thanks for confirming. I had a hunch but I haven't rented from a private landlord before (only apartments and leasing offices) so it makes sense. And I'd probably do the same thinking about it haha. I think especially in today's market, where even rentals are a scarcity (at least where I am), there's not much else you can do if the landlord's asking for it beforehand.

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

Id never pay to view a property. 

 This is via Zillow and for a background/credit check. The actual application part doesn't cost which is good. Seems some landlords are offshoring/outsourcing this part via Zillow. Obviously, it's more convenient for private landlords. While I tend to share the sentiment that I would never pay, I would probably do the same if I were a private landlord AND there was a scarcity of rentals in my area (if the rental market were saturated, I would never go this route as it would be a complete turn-off and renters can easily just move on to the next property). 


In this case, rental inventory is very low, so there's not many choices. And, as a renter in a market like mine, you can't really say "I'll just wait for the next one" since time is against you. Just my 2cents.

EDIT: I ended up paying the $29 to have the background/credit check run. It's good for 30 days so I figure, if anything, I can leverage to apply for other places if this one falls through as well as grab a copy of the reports for personal reference etc 

@Jeremy Lee

It is pretty standard when a tenant still resides in a home to only show it to qualified applicants. There is however a huge “if”.

It doesn’t take a lot for someone to claim a property on Zillow as theirs. The information needed is typically public. Before filling out the online application, do your homework and see if it is listed on any other websites or with a property manager.

The identity theft can be a major concern when utilizing some of these “do it yourself” online packages some utilize on Zillow.