I am a student and soon to be tenant who is looking to rent a place for about 4 months between January and May.

I have to relocate and I have come across many winter rentals by the shore that seem like a good price at this time of the year. So I came across a place that is $900 a month, covers most pretty much everything (electric, water, heating, parking) except for internet costs. However, when speaking with the real estate agent, she mentioned there is also a $1000 processing fee.

When I had mentioned that this fee is very high and asked what it is composed of, she only asked me if I was willing to pay $500 and the landlord pay $500. I am brand new when it comes to finding places to rent and from my understanding I think that this is the fee she charges to write up the lease.

I am not sure entirely if that is what the processing fee is or not. Any advice on how I should approach this further?

  • How did you find this place? What kind of place is it? Are there other people living at this same property?
    – kponz
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 13:33
  • Do all realtors in that area charge a processing fee ? Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 13:45
  • 1
    I'm in the US and have rented places in 5 states and a number of cities within those, and have never heard of such a fee being requested of the renter. There is always a fee by realtors in one form or fashion, but this is customarily only ever paid by the landlord in every place I've ever been. However, real estate is such a weird industry that I still can't say that it is strictly unheard of or unusual in New Jersey, which I have never been to. You are right to think it is odd in general in the US, at least. Definitely consider calling a few other realtors and ask them if they have a fee.
    – BrianH
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 15:49
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    Did she call this a "processing fee", or something else? A realtor fee is not uncommon, would usually be about a month's rent, and can be paid either by the landlord, tenant, or both, but the listing should generally be up-front about this cost.
    – yoozer8
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 22:31
  • Are you moving there for school or a job? Do you, via those channels, know anyone there (not necessarily know them personally, just know their name and have some cordial businesslike acquaintance with them)? If so, consider reaching out to one or two such people and asking them if this is common. People who are established in the local area may know about such things.
    – BrenBarn
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


Realtors get paid for their work - which is matching a future renter with a landlord.
Those fees depend a lot on country and laws, but $ 1000 seems not uncommon. I know of countries where the fee is one monthly rent.

Note that I am not familiar with the specific market you ask about, and it could well be fishy or a scam, but it could be usual and legitimate.

  • 7
    That fee is almost always paid by the landlord, not the tenant. This sounds very fishy.
    – JohnFx
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 23:26

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