During the application process for an apartment, you’re likely to hear unfamiliar terms, like “apartment admin fee” or a “rental admin fee.” And that could leave you with questions like How is it different from a security deposit and a move-in fee? When should I pay the admin fee for apartments? Is it possible for me to refuse to pay or refund the administrative fee? These are all reasonable questions, and we’ve answered them so you’ll be prepared the next time you go to the landlord’s office to sign a lease.

What is an admin fee for apartments?

The apartment administrative fee is one of the extra charges that come up throughout the rental process. The administrative charge is intended to reduce the risk to the landlord of keeping an apartment off the market in order to rent it to you.

It’s also a charge to cover some of the costs associated with verifying that you’re a suitable renter, such as credit and reference checks. So, the rental admin fee is simply your claim on the apartment, ensuring that no one else can take it while you finish out the formalities.

Related: The Best Ways to Negotiate a Rent Increase

How much is the apartment admin fee?

The rental admin fee has a broad meaning and can include a wide range of amounts. Some landlords may use the administrative fees to cover the expense of a credit check. The charge might be as little as $50-$100 in this situation.

Some landlords may charge twice as much or more, depending on how much they include in for other costs of renting their property to you. Others may be able to deduct the administrative cost from their next month’s rent.

The most significant thing is keeping track of all fees while looking for a great location to rent. You don’t want to fall in love with a property only to be met with roadblocks due to the expense of additional fees.

Related: Everything You Need to Know about Apartment Co-Signers

Are the administrative costs refundable?

It’s rare to get a refund for your apartment admin fee. The charge, unlike a security deposit, is not usually refundable. However, you may even be eligible for a full or partial refund in some circumstances.

  • You’ll be refunded if your application is denied or the landlord refuses to let you live there.
  • Some landlords collect a $125 administrative fee with the promise of a refund if the transaction is canceled on the first day.
  • In other cases, the rental admin fee is deducted from the first month’s rent by landlords.

The best course of action is to ensure that you understand the landlord’s policies before paying money or signing any agreements. You could get stuck once you make that payment.

Related: A Complete Guide to Rent Payment Plans

Other Rental Fees: Security Deposit & Move-in Fee

Landlords have businesses to operate, so you may be required to pay various fees in addition to the admin charge. Apartment admin fees, move-in fees, and security deposit fees are common rental fee structures.

These three fees may seem similar and are sometimes misunderstood as the same thing. However, there are some differences between them. The next sections explain what they are, how they operate, and how they affect your overall rental prices.

via NPR

Security deposit

Apart from the apartment admin fee, one of the most typical charges you’ll find when moving into a new apartment is a security deposit. The security deposit is a quantity of money normally paid up in advance and held by the landlord until you vacate the premises. It’s usually a deposit equal to one or two months’ rent.

There are just a few scenarios in which you will not be refunded your money. These include things like creating damage to the wall that goes beyond usual scuffs and scrapes. For example, if your pet destroys the carpet or the walls, if you spill wine on the carpet and it will not come out, or if you hang art on the wall and the drywall is destroyed. In this case, the landlord would frequently take the cost of damage repair from the security deposit.

Some tenants fail to pay their final month’s rent or are unable to do so caused by unexpected economic factors. In such instances, too, the security deposit protects the landlord.

Related: A Guide To No Fee Apartment In New York: No Brokers’ Fee In NYC!

Move-in Fee

Another cost that you must pay while relocating to a new house is the move-in fee. This is a cost charged by the landlord to make minor adjustments and touch-ups to the unit before you move in. Repainting, touching up the carpet, updating the locks, and power cleaning the patio are just a few examples. This amount might range from $150 to $350, and it is generally non-refundable.

However, consider this as a deep cleaning fee so that when you move in, the apartment is spotless and ready to go.

Related: Is It Time For You To Move To Another City?

Is it possible to avoid paying apartment admin fees?

While we all want to save money when we move, it isn’t always possible. Unfortunately, avoiding the administrative cost is quite tough. While paying a charge for paperwork might be inconvenient, it is often inevitable.

Administration fees are prevalent in most states when renting an apartment. Due to the Fair Housing Act, which requires one tenant to pay the cost while waiving another, most landlords will be hesitant to waive the fee. While this is usually the case, depending on the landlord and your agreement, there are always exceptions to the norm.

Now that we’ve cleared everything on the apartment admin fee, you’re all set. With ever-increasing lists of rentals, Roomi can help you find the perfect room and roommate. It’s safe, guarantees your privacy, and has no monthly subscription fees. What’s more? Signing up from any city on Roomi is completely free. Get started today!