A California rental application is often used by landlords and property management firms when looking for qualified applicants for a rental property. The application will assist the potential tenant in organizing their information for approval. The landlord should respond within 1-2 days, and the landlord might ask for a non-refundable fee. Once approved, the tenant will be issued a lease to sign.
Application fee - At first, landowners could charge $30 as the limit for application expenses. Though, This sum might vary yearly following the Consumer Price Index. As of February 2020, the highest value was $53.33 (Cal. Civ. Code § 1950.6, California Loft Assoc.).
Security Deposit - California landowners can't charge a sum greater than two (2) months' rent for unfitted properties, or three months (90 days') rent for outfitted properties (Cal. Civ. Code § 1950.5(c)).
Rent application fees in California are not meant to make a huge profit. This fee will only cover the costs of screening. Typically, application fees range from $30 to $50.
1950.6 of California Civil Code: What is it?
Fees for residential applications in California are regulated by Section 19550.6 of the California Civil Code. The Civil Code *1950.6 states that upon its passage on January 1, 1955, property owners and managers could not receive over $30 for an application. Now, renters are permitted to raise their application fees under the consumer price index (CPI).
To avoid unfair competition claims, many owners charge a lower application fee than the maximum allowed. Property owners and agents cannot retain fees if a credit report and references have not been run.
There cannot be a fee for screening applications if there are no current openings (Civil Code §1950.6(c)). In other words, this law bans owners and agents from charging unnecessary screening fees when it is “clear that no rental unit will be available in a reasonable period or at that time.”
Even if there are no vacancies, a screening fee may be charged if the applicant agrees in writing.
Married applicants must pay the same amount as single applicants.
Many realtors and landlords give married couples reduced rates for applying (such as $40 per couple as opposed to $30 per person). Giving applicants a break may seem appealing. It should be noted, however, that separate treatment of married and single applicants might be considered discriminatory. Be fair and equal to all applicants, even if you charge a screening fee.
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