News & Resources

New law cracks down on tenant screening fees

May 11, 2011 Matt Roesly

An ordinance was passed last week in California that requires property owners and landlords to comply with state screening fee procedures, according to The Daily Californian. The news source notes that under California law, property owners can charge a maximum tenant screening fee of $42.41 to cover the cost of a credit or rental history background check on an applicant. However, the law states that the landlord must return all unused money and provide occupants with an itemized receipt upon request. "I don't think I've ever encountered a tenant who has received a receipt as the law requires," council member Jesse Arreguín told "Landlords sometimes accept fees even though they have already decided who they will rent to. Information is power and it's important that people know what the rights are of landlords and tenants." News of this new ordinance will benefit students, who typically enter into rental agreements without fully understanding what their landlords are allowed to do, and are then taken advantage of, notes The Daily Californian. Tenants will be entitled to a $250 penalty from landlords who do not comply with the new ordinance.