Rental Application Fees
Tenants and landlords - rental application process. The act states that a landlord may not charge a prospective tenant a rental application fee unless the landlord uses the entire amount of the fee to cover the landlord's costs in processing the rental application. A landlord also may not charge a prospective tenant a rental application fee that is in a different amount than a rental application fee charged to another prospective tenant who applies to rent:
- The same dwelling unit; or
- If the landlord offers more than one dwelling unit for rent at the same time, any other dwelling unit offered by the landlord.
The act requires a landlord to provide to any prospective tenant who has paid a rental application fee either a disclosure of the landlord's anticipated expenses for which the fee will be used or an itemization of the landlord's actual expenses incurred. The landlord is required to make a good-faith effort to refund any unused portion of an application fee within 20 days.
The act states that if a landlord uses rental history or credit history as criteria in consideration of an application, the landlord shall not consider any rental history or credit history beyond 7 years immediately preceding the date of the application. If a landlord considers criminal history as a criterion, the landlord shall not consider an arrest record of a prospective tenant from any time or any conviction of a prospective tenant that occurred more than 5 years before the date of the application; except that a landlord may consider any criminal conviction record or deferred judgment relating to certain criminal offenses involving methamphetamine, any offense that required the prospective tenant to register as a sex offender, any offense that is classified as a homicide, or stalking.
If a landlord denies a rental application, the landlord shall provide the prospective tenant a written notice of the denial that states the reasons for the denial.
A landlord who violates any of the requirements created in the act is liable to the person who is charged a rental application fee for triple the amount of the rental application fee, plus court costs. A landlord who corrects or cures a violation not more than 7 calendar days after receiving notice of the violation is immune from liability. A person who intentionally and in bad faith brings a meritless claim against a landlord is liable for the landlord's court costs and reasonable attorney fees in defending the claim.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)