How to Collect Application Fees in New York State?
I'm screening tenants for the first time and already in progress using Innago and planning to have tenants pay the background check fee. Unfortunately, I didn't catch that there's a $20 fee limit from NYS - luckily caught my mistake before getting into trouble! I don't mind taking on the cost of doing more detailed background/credit/eviction checks, it's a cost of doing business and getting quality tenants, but I'm trying to find the most efficient way to do so.
Are there any online screening tools you've found that let you charge the applicant a set fee and you cover the rest? I haven't found a service yet that's $20 or less for any substantive information.
NYS landlords, how are you collecting fees and conducting your screenings? Do you collect cash or a check at showings?
I use TransUnion's SmartMove. It charges the tenant $20 and I have them pay TransUnion directly. My applications are free and then I just input their information into the SmartMove system, they send out an email confirmation to the applicant and then within minutes the whole process can be completed with reports ready to be reviewed.
I also take advantage of the Realtor discount that TransUnion provides through the New York State Association of Realtors while allows me to run it this way.
Without the discount, the fee paid by either yourself or the tenant is $25 per screening for credit/background. I've been satisfied with the reports so far.
And ultimately background checks are hit or miss and if you're renting to someone who's rent is paid for 100% by section 8 the you can't do a credit check.