5 Non-Refundable Fees Landlords Are Allowed to Charge

Whether you intentionally set about becoming a landlord or the task just fell in your lap when you inherited a property, there's a complex series of rules and statutes that you must abide by.

Many of these rules regulate fees that you're allowed to charge.

As a landlord, charging these fees can sometimes make the difference between covering repair costs and "falling in the red" for the month.

Fortunately, you are usually allowed to charge the following non-refundable fees if you go about it the right way.

Late Fees
This is one of the few fees that landlords everywhere are allowed to charge, but this doesn't mean that there aren't rules pertaining to doing so.

Depending on your state, how to set late fees for rent can vary immensely.

Regardless, these fees are non-refundable and are allowed as a direct result of the tenant not abiding by their lease.

Make sure to check your state-specific laws. In most areas, you can charge a single late fee, a per-day late fee and even a per-week late fee.

Your local laws will dictate how much these fees can be, so don't try to take advantage of the system and overcharge tenants.

This could end badly.

Screening Fees
Screening fees are also allowed during the rental process, and these fees are charged before a potential tenant ever even moves in.

Keep in mind, though, that you cannot charge this fee to an applicant and then keep the money if no screening was performed.

Fortunately, there are online property management tools that allow you to easily perform background and credit screenings.

This can result in reduced costs for both you and prospective renters.

Unless local law dictates otherwise, these fees are usually non-refundable except when, as mentioned, the screening never actually takes place.

Pet Fees
Many landlords think that charging a pet deposit is an agreeable option when a pet-loving tenant moves in.

In many areas, though, a pet deposit combined with the regular deposit still cannot exceed local laws on security deposit caps.

This means that, even if there may be additional damage to your property is due to a frisky feline, you may not get anymore money than you would with the traditional deposit.

Luckily, you're likely allowed to charge a non-refundable pet fee to those who want to bring their furry friends along.

Fees are also allowed if the tenant brings in a pet in opposition of the lease terms.

Keep in mind, though, that some places may not even allow a pet fee.

It's important to note that laws in most areas don't prevent charging additional "pet rent."

This can include a monthly payment on top of the rent that would normally be charged to ensure any potential damage is covered.

Attorney Fees
Even though there are online resources that make the process simpler, the real cost of evictions can still be excessive.

Fortunately, you can reduce these costs and additional expenditures throughout the entire tenant-landlord relationship by including an attorney's fee clause in your rental agreement.

These clauses simply state that a tenant agrees to pay any legal fees incurred by the landlord in relation to enforcing the lease.

It's not even necessary for these fees to be related to a completed eviction.

For instance, if legal fees accrue while trying to get rent, even if it is eventually paid, the tenant can still be on the hook.

Non-Refundable Move-In Fees
You may not know it, but charging non-refundable move-in fees in lieu of security deposits is a growing trend.

Instead of charging a deposit, which can be very expensive and have several complex laws about its use and return, you can simply charge a lower non-refundable move-in fee.

This fee isn't governed by security deposit regulations, and while you'll definitely be benefiting from its collection, your tenant will also likely end up paying less than they would with a traditional deposit.

The fact that these non-refundable fees all have strict rules attached is a testament to how complex a landlord's job can really be.

Fortunately, once you have a decent understanding of these fees, you'll be able to easily discern when you should and shouldn't charge them.

Posted on Jul 17, 2015


Most Important Landlord Tenant Laws in Texas

When it comes to having a tenant for the first time, it can be pretty daunting because you are going to be the corresponding landlord and a new relationship will emerge, which will need time to grow... More

The Landlord Tenant Board: What it is and When it is Needed

Many times, there are issues between a landlord and a tenant that need to be resolved but are failed to do so, because both parties have gone too far with their actions, and have retaliated in the... More

The Landlord Tenant Laws in California

The landlord and tenant laws in California are literally the same as they are in any other state. These laws, rules and regulations are put into practice because they uphold an order, a discipline,... More

Understanding the Landlord Tenant Laws in Illinois

People are aware that there are different rulings in each state with reference to the landlord/tenant laws. The state of Illinois also has a set of laws. These rules and regulations are basically... More

How to Create a Residential Lease Agreement

Where there is a landlord, there will also be a tenant, and it is no surprise that these two parties can only work together once there is some sort of agreement, contract or a binding deal in place.... More

The Best Sites for Rental and Lease Agreement Templates

Many landlords find it difficult to write and draft a lease agreement. Since every State has its own general template, it can also be difficult to make sure your lease agreement meets all the criteria... More

The Landlord Tenant Act: What Landlords Need to Know

All landlords know that before they can formally become a landlord there are a lot of things they need to understand. Landlords and tenants cannot act as such without any legal bodies involved. That... More

Landlord Obligations: The Responsibilities of a Landlord

Becoming a landlord is a major deal and no one can simply get up and think, “well, yes I think I should be a landlord and rent out my flat.” If you are thinking that you would like to be a landlord,... More

The Best Landlord Associations for Landlords to Join

If you’re a landlord and want to manage your business in a better way, you should endeavor to get in touch with those industry experts who have the experience and the skills to help you do it. This is... More

The Best Landlord Forums

Landlords and aspiring landlords, do not become as such, without guidance and advice. There is a lot that goes into being a landlord nowadays; in fact, there is so much to learn that it often confuses... More