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Prospective tenants spending hundreds on rental application fees

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    LAS VEGAS (KVVU) — The competitive rental market is costing some prospective tenants hundreds of dollars before they even secure a new home. The rental market has gotten tighter over the last few months, and there are often five to 10 renters who want to move forward on a property.

“I apply. They say, ‘We will see what we can do,’ and then nothing,” renter Maria Lopez said.

Lopez, a single mother, has spent more than $1,000 in application fees as she searches for a new rental for her family this spring.

“It’s just a constant process of waiting and waiting,” Lopez said.

“I spent $600 on application fees and didn’t even get anywhere,” renter Liz Garrett said.

Application fees are the cost associated with screening a tenant, including performing a background check. They usually cost tenants between $50-100.

“Are property managers making a couple bucks on application fees? Maybe, but does it compensate for their time and effort? I would say yes,” Joshua Campa of the McGarey Campa Residential Management Group said.

Campa is the president of the local chapter of the National Property Managers Association (NARPM). He said it’s important for renters to find out the property managers process before applying.

“Every property manager is required to have a set criteria in place for their rental property to deem what a qualified applicant is,” Campa said.

Some property managers do background checks in the order the prospective tenants applied, and others take all applicants and choose from there. So, it’s important to ask the property manager what their standards are for a tenant. That way you know if your credit is good enough, your income is high enough and you’re willing to pay the security deposit price.

With the hot rental market, more scammers are trying to grab quick cash too. FOX5 found a listing for an apartment for rent on Facebook Marketplace. The man said he was a landlord for the property, but when we reached out to the apartment complex, they didn’t know who he was and said that apartment was not available. Campa said this happens more often when the market is extra competitive.

“Always make sure you’re working with a licensed property,” Campa said. “Check with the Clark County assessor to make sure property tax records and lease agreements match the property owner name. It is a requirement that you disclose the property owner on all lease agreement on the first page.”

There is currently a bill in the state assembly (SB218) that would, in part, require landlords to only take one application fee at a time.

Campa said the argument against that is it could limit landlords from choosing the best perspective tenant.

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