Rentals in Seattle>Question Details

Pkonduru, Renter in Seattle, WA

Is it legal and/or common for property managers to charge tenants an admin fee?

Asked by Pkonduru, Seattle, WA Tue Jul 31, 2012

I am looking to rent a townhouse, which has a property manager managing on behalf of the landlord. The prop manager wants to charge me (the tenant) an administration fee ($200). This does not sound right for me. Is this common practice? Even legal?

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No, that is not usually the way it works...the property owner is charged what we call a "rent up" one time amount for all the services required in getting a new tenant...the prospective tenant pays for their credit/background check as well as other fees which are incorporated in the lease...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
That does seem strange, as those are usually covered through the PM agreement with the owner, as part of Full Management services, duty to the owner to protect the investment.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
I only got a vague answer that this is a standard admin cost their firm charges tenants. I got an answer back that it covers move-in and move-out processing, whatever that means.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
I would ask what this admin fee covers. Is it to set you up on auto payments and cover your screening cost? They should be able to itemize anything they are charging you.

It is unusual, but not illegal as far as I know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
In that case it seems a bit high maybe, but I'm still not seeing a big problem with it.

You can check to make sure you're dealing with a licensed entity here:

https://fortress.wa.gov/dol/dolprod/bpdLicenseQuery/

They should be licensed under real estate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
I'm being told by the property management firm that it is a one-time administration fee. They seem to be a legitimate entity.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
It sounds like the property manager is trying to collect the fee (or part of it) for renting the property from the tenant instead of the landlord. It's not a common practice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
What ALL Seattle tenants and landlords need to know:the link below will take you to the Seattle Landlord/Tenant website.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
I'm not sure why it would be illegal, but it does seem odd. Is it a one time charge or a monthly charge? If monthly, why not wrap it up in the rent? If one a one time charge, it seems a bit high of a charge for an application fee, but other than that I don't see a problem with it.

I would have two concerns if it's monthly. First, are you dealing through a legitimate entity or is it some sort of Craigslist type scam? Second, is the administrative fee locked for the same duration as the lease? You don't want to be locked into a one year lease at $1,800 with a $200 admin fee, and then have the admin free raised to $500 six months into the lease.

Hopefully whether it's monthly or one-time will be clarified, and if monthly, someone can shed some light on this practice, because I'm coming up with nothing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2012
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