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Multifamily Minute Reader Reflections: What Fees Do You Charge Your Renters?
Our 45,271 subscribers told us which fees they do — and don't — charge their renters. Learn about the whole range of fees out there, and why being transparent is key.
Fees, fees, and more fees.
It's something most renters are more than a bit familiar with.
Should it be, though?
Last week, I asked our Multifamily Minute subscribers what kind of fees they charge their renters. Let's see what we said.
Our survey results are below, ranked by most to least popular.
Type of fee
Percent of responses
Late payment fees
Pest control fees
Lease initiation fees
I don't really want to talk about each individual fee today, because the thing that jumps out at me — more like slaps me across the face — is just how many different kinds of fees are being charged.
Sure, most of our respondents don't charge amenity fees or guest fees…but many do. And even beyond the 11 fees listed here, I have a whole host of submissions that fell under the "other" category. Pre-eviction fees, garage use fees, NSF fees, the list goes on.
There's a point to be made here for our renters.
Take one more look at the list above. Is it reasonable for renters to know they'll be on the hook for some cocktail of the charges above when they sign a lease?
Probably not. I mean, there are a lot of fees there.
This all just highlights the importance of being open and transparent in what fees you charge.
I'm confident most of our survey respondents are upstanding landlords and don't hide these fees, of course. But even with few bad actors, it's a very, very easy narrative for the White House to buy into when they see a list of tens (maybe even hundreds?) of fees that renters can get hit with.
One solution is to be transparent about what rent includes (and doesn't include). Another is just to provide a list of fees where your prospects are likely to learn about your apartments, likely on your property website or listing service's page.
If you think you might scare off potential renters by showing the true upfront costs of renting, hear me out. It's better to scare them off early than after you've already invested time and resources to get them to the table.
Besides, being open about these fees just means you'll start off your landlord-resident relationship on the right foot, with openness, transparency, and honesty. That can do wonders for you and your property's reputations, not to mention setting yourself apart from other landlords in your area.
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