Proposed Rental Application Fee Ordinance

On Tuesday, September 10, Council Member Lisa Sánchez presented a proposed rental application fee ordinance that addresses concerns with rental fees within the City of Boise. Council Member Sánchez’s proposal specifically outlines application criteria for rentals, requirements for property owners, a set amount for rental fees, rules for current tenants, and potential fines. Taken in total, these criteria are aimed at creating greater transparency in the assessment and processing of rental application fees, as well as helping renters better manage the fees associated with rental applications.

Proposed Ordinance Overview

Application Criteria

Require that, before an application can be taken or accepted, the criteria on which the application will be judged must be disclosed, along with the amount that will be charged for the application fee.

Property Owner Requirements

Require that property owners shall only advertise, take applications and screen applicants for units that will be available within 30 days. If an applicant has been screened, the unit has been offered, and a deposit has been placed, it will no longer be considered available and no other applications will be allowed. If a unit is not available, the applicant will have the option to consent to be screened and placed on a waiting list.

Set Amount

Designate that the amount that can be charged by any property management company for a unit in the City of Boise shall not exceed the actual cost of the screening process or $30, whichever is lower. An explanation and receipt must detailing how the fee was used, and any copies of paperwork or correspondence that were generated as a result of the screening must be provided to the applicant.

Rules for Current Tenants

Stipulate that current tenants of a unit shall not be charged an application fee to move to another unit under the control of the same property owner.

Potential Fines

Further stipulate that violations would be an infraction, punishable by a $100 fine. Second or subsequent violations would be considered a misdemeanor and would also be punishable under those guidelines. Complaints of violation must be filed within six months.

Group of houses

Next Steps

Following Council Member Sánchez’s presentation of the ordinance to council, the ordinance will be presented at a public hearing where members of the public can provide testimony on the proposed ordinance.

The city will share notification of the hearing on its social media channels and through its In The Know newsletter.

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