- Application fee: Prospective landlords want to make sure you can pay the rent in a timely manner. Nobody wants to put someone in a situation that he or she cannot afford. Thus, many landlords will check your credit report for bad debt and evictions. The national average for these fees range from $30-$55.
- Security deposit: landlords are entitled to collect a deposit to hedge against any damages to the property. This deposit will be applied to any extra repairs, utilities and cleaning done after you move out that is beyond normal “wear and tear.” Check your state for guidelines. For example, in Ohio, landlords have 30 days to process these deposits and the deposit is usually equal to one month’s rent. If it is more than the monthly rent, you are entitled to receive interest on the extra.
- Pet fees or pet deposit: if you have a pet, be expected to pay extra monthly rent or a separate deposit to account for any damages your pet might add to the house or apartment.
- Document fees or bad credit fees: some landlords might require fees for extra work in doing paperwork or if your credit score is below a certain threshold.
While these fees are standard, there is one fee you should never pay— that is a fee to view a property. This is a classic scam— usually there is not a property to even see. So if someone asks you to wire or send money in advance, don’t do it. This is illegal and unethical.