You may assume the only cost incurred while renting is the monthly payments, but that is sometimes untrue. New lessees are sometimes shocked to find that they owe more upfront for a deposit. Often times, the deposit is one month’s rent, which is either reimbursed or used for the final month of rent payment. Other times, however, landlords charge a little extra to cover additional costs.

Here are the top six reasons why landlords might require steep supplementary fees.

1. Bad Experiences

Previous tenants who manage to earn distrust from your new landlord could be the reason for a high deposit. Sometimes, irresponsible renters fail to pay their rent and either take off or attempt to slide by through false promises and IOUs. Unfortunately, landlords who’ve gone through this negative process have to be more careful with their investment moving forward.

2. Lack of References

New tenants are strangers, and for landlords to protect their finances, they have to do due diligence. One of the best ways to sift out bad applicants is by contacting past landlords. If you have a particularly sketchy rental history, finding a new place without references (or negative references) is difficult. In those cases, new landlords may charge extra for their peace of mind.

3. Pets

Many apartment buildings don’t allow pets because of the potential damage they leave behind. When landlords do allow animals, they usually have stringent conditions. Weight limits, breed restrictions and high deposits are fairly common. Keep in mind, if you have a dog or cat in your unit, it’s best to keep them contained to the kitchen area or a place where they can’t stain the carpet or scratch on doorways.

4. Recent Remodel

Amenities and upgrades are great, but they often come at a cost. Sometimes, instead of raising the rent, landlords charge a higher deposit to safeguard their new renovations. If anything breaks within the year, it won’t be due to old technology or worn out equipment. Having a security deposit to reimburse damages is highly beneficial in these cases.

5. Lack of Employment

Rental owners prefer their tenants have a steady, stable job. If you can’t pay rent, landlords lose money. To avoid an extra fee, you could always enlist a cosigner with consistent employment. Keep in mind, if you fail to pay rent, landlords are responsible for your costs. Landlords still have to cover the mortgage.

6. Missing Information

Failing to provide previous addresses, past employer information or even a social security number are red flags to new landlords who don’t know your history. It’s best to give them all details available upfront to create a strong, trustworthy relationship.

If you feel your landlord is charging an unreasonable amount, check with your state and local laws. Boutique Leasing Agencies, like The Rental Girl, work closely with the renter and landlord to ensure both parties are following correct rental policies, and are coming to a harmonious leasing agreement. If you’re looking for a rental and want to skip the questioning of deposit/additional fees–The Rental Girl can take care of you.

The Rental Girl invites Guest Bloggers with unique perspectives and helpful housing-related advice to post on our blog. Jennifer Riner, author of this blog post, is a Marketing Content Coordinator at Zillow. Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help.

Happy Hunting,

The Rental Girl


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