Application Fees and Deposits

Initial money owed

When you put in your application, you'll need to pay an application fee, a credit check authorization fee, and you'll likely pay a deposit. If your application is denied, you'll get the deposit back, but not the application and credit authorization fee.

IMPORTANT: If you hand over cash to your agent or the landlord, get a receipt!

The application and credit check authorization fees

These two charges are sometimes grouped together or broken out into two separate charges. The combined fees will run you $60 - $150 per person for a rental building, and $300-$1,500 for condos and co-ops. Every person on the lease needs to pay the fees, so if you're applying with a roommate, you both need to pay. The cost covers the expense of running a credit check, verifying employment, rental history and more.

Deposits (aka Good-Faith Deposit)

Most landlords require a deposit to secure an apartment and take it off the market. The price ranges from $500 to the cost of one month's rent. Until the money is in, the apartment won't be taken off the market; the agent may give you a nod or a handshake that it'll be taken off, but don't trust that.

Be prepared to pay

Regular checks, cash and credit cards are rarely accepted, so be prepared and get a certified bank or travelers check in advance. Have your bank create two different checks in amounts big enough to cover the anticipated costs of the fees and the deposit. If you pay with cash, make sure to get a receipt from your agent or the landlord.

bring your wallet
FIG 4.2: It's not quite this expensive

Is an application pending? Submit a backup app!

If someone beats you to the apartment, you can still submit a backup application in case the first application gets rejected. Just make sure the landlord isn't going to run a credit check unless the other application falls through. And make sure to get the fee refunded if the other application goes through.

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