real estate

Please lease me: 7 tips for renters

Leverage the rental application fee
Leverage the rental application fee

Often, landlords charge $30 or more to run a credit check. The fee might not be that big of a deal if you apply at one apartment. But renters in competitive markets, as well as those who have less-than-perfect credit histories, may end up applying multiple times.

"There are a bunch of ways to avoid these fees," says Matthew Heisler, a landlord and real estate agent at Heisler & Mattson Properties in Westborough, Mass. "You can pull your credit report yourself -- independent landlords and some management companies will accept that. Also, if one half of a couple has the credit to afford the apartment, then only one person should apply (because) two applications cost more."

Ask if the fee can be applied to the rent, says David Vivero, CEO of RentJuice, an online rental platform based in San Francisco. "Rental application fees are always at the discretion of the property manager or brokerage, and no fee is the same," says Vivero.

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