L.R. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are a 64-unit complex in Stamford, CT. I’m trying to figure out what is a fair move-in fee for rental properties. Currently there is a $250 move-in fee and we have no move-out fee. In addition, there’s a $25 lease-filing fee and a personal automobile, phone and email registry fee of $25. The fees are paid upon move-in, not yearly. Is this comparable in Fairfield County?
Mister Condo replies:
L.R., that is an interesting question with many answers. Move-in fees, move-out fees, lease-filing fees, and just about any other fee you can imagine are largely at the discretion of the association and/or their management company. Of course, if the fees get too large, renters or owners may call foul and the Board may need to reassess their fees. As far as comparing your association to others, I would say you are somewhat in line and certainly not as adsorbent as some I have heard. That being said, I think it is fair for the Board or Property Manager to take a look at the true cost of handling move-ins and move-outs, including bookkeeping and management costs and make sure their fees cover all expenses. If the association or management company also makes a little money in the process, that is perfectly acceptable. If no one is complaining about the fees, you are probably charging a reasonable amount. Also, ask your management company how your fees compare with other properties they manage. Hope that helps!