Crying foul over rental screening fee

Rent it Right

Q: I was rejected by a landlord after I gave him a tenant screening fee and went through two interviews. I later learned that the owner was looking for someone who would commit to a two-year lease (I can’t do that). Had I known about this requirement, I wouldn’t have bothered — and wouldn’t have wasted my money paying the fee. Is there anything I can do about it? –Mikey M.

A: Careful landlords will include the length of the lease in their ad and certainly in any screening conversations. Like the rent, the deposit and pets, the length of the lease is a key rental term that should be announced at the outset. Doing so is actually a plus for landlords, for it saves them the time and trouble of interviewing and screening a prospect who, it turns out, can’t (or won’t) accept one of those terms. By declining now, your landlord has wasted his time checking you out; and you have not only wasted your time but also lost the application fee.