Dave Rice

Dave Rice is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Cleveland Ave. and Ohio St. chimeras

Given that credit reports and background checks cost me about $30 to obtain, and that time spent processing an application (obtaining the credit/background, calling landlords and other references, showing the unit) is greater than zero, there's not really any profit in running a "scam" collecting application fees. An easy way to avoid finding that you're not qualified for a property is to be up-front about your credit, income, and references, and to inquire beforehand whether there are other applicants. 90% of the applications I process and don't approve are due to someone lying about their credit history, employment, or rental history - maybe one in ten is a case where I get multiple qualified applicants and have to make a tough decision on who gets a unit. A real-life application scam I've encountered, though not lately, is a company selling credit reports for $90 or more accompanied with an alleged list of available properties. These firms don't actually manage any of the properties on the list, most have been culled from Craigslist without the actual landlord's permission, and many have already been rented, sometimes months ago. Even the credit report is of dubious value - I'll look at it and tell you whether or not you'd potentially qualify for a place before you pay an application fee, but I'm still going to run my own report to verify yours is legit. People collecting deposits and/or rent on units they don't manage are the worst - instead of a few bucks I've seen people get taken for hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on obviously too-good-to-be-true rentals. In some cases unsuspecting tenants even move into vacant units before they're discovered by the true manager and then end up getting evicted, which is really a black mark when they go looking for another place.
— July 13, 2018 11:09 p.m.

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