You spend weeks, maybe even months searching for an apartment. You finally find the place you were looking for. Before you can sign the lease, the landlord, or its real estate agent request an application fee. In the alternative they request money to check your credit. Is this legal? No.
In Massachusetts a landlord can charge for the first and last month’s rent, security deposit and key deposit. A landlord or its agent MAY NOT CHARGE AN APPLICATION FEE or charge for a Credit Check.
If you have been charged an application fee you have a legal claim against your landlord and it’s agent.
Often times, if you want the apartment you must pay the fee otherwise you will forgo the opportunity of securing the apartment. In order to preserve your legal rights, pay with a check and keep a copy. The key to recovering later is documentation.
If your have been charged an application fee, your landlord may have violated the Massachusetts Security Deposit law. If your landlord owns more than one apartment, you landlord may be in violation of Massachusetts Consumer Protection law. This violation may entitle you to triple damages plus attorney fees.
If you your Massachusetts landlord has charged you an application fee to rent an apartment, please get in contact today.