I applied (I didn't actually fill in every field, but they still performed a background check) to an apartment where they charge both an administrative fee and application fee. I decided to sign a lease with a different apartment and consequently didn't sign one with the apartment that charges both administrative and application fees. The apartment is asking me to pay both fees, but won't tell me what the administrative fee covers that the application fee doesn't. Additionally, I was told that I could pay electronically, but once they realized I'm not signing a lease they will only accept a money order or check. I haven't paid either fee yet, but the apartment manager said he will contact a collections agency if this isn't taken care of within 30 days. Do I owe the administrative fee? This is in Texas, United States. Thanks!

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    They can send it to collections. But unless you signed a document stating you would pay those fees. You can probably challenge the debt and get it removed. – Digital fire Jul 24 '17 at 20:35
  • How much would it affect my credit score if they send it to collections? – Narwhal Jul 25 '17 at 0:59

You agreed to pay these fees when you applied for the apartment, so unless they explicitly say that one or both of these fees is waived in case you don't take the apartment (virtually no chance that they said such a thing), you owe that money. Your obligation is not contingent on them convincing you that the fee is just, so it doesn't matter that they won't explain the difference. However, if they said you can pay electronically, then you can pay electronically, since that too is part of the agreement.

  • I understand the application fee, but how is it clear that the administrative fee isn't part of the initial paperwork corresponding to the lease agreement? At previous places I have resided, I signed an agreement explicitly stating I would pay specified application fees. There wasn't anything here I signed. I'm not arguing whether a fee was just or not, but how it was agreed upon implicitly. Also, they won't accept electronic payment because their system only allows electronic payment when an applicant agrees to the lease (despite what I was told in person before applying). – Narwhal Jul 25 '17 at 0:54
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    It's clear (from what you say here) that you understood there to be two separate fees. You're legally bound to what you agreed to, both in writing and orally (and they are too). Obviously having things in writing reduces the "I never said that" problem. If you intend to dispute what you agreed to, you really should review the available evidence (on both sides). It's not relevant what their system will "accept", if their agent (the one you talked to in person) said you can pay electronically: that too is part of the agreement. – user6726 Jul 25 '17 at 1:05

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