Ontario property management firm charging "service fees" just to apply for an apartment rental? This has got to be illegal.
So here's the story: My girlfriend and I saw a nice apartment, went to see it, and decided to fil out an application form to find out the landlord would rent it to us. Problem: The landlord is a TransGlobe
, a large property management firm. They demanded first and last month's rent (the latter in a certified cheque) before they'd process an application form to decide if they'd rent to us. Two days after making the application, we informed the rental agent that we'd changed our mind and had found another apartment, and could we please have our cheques back. Now the fun begins.
The property rental person "has to talk to her manager", and after more phone calls her manager says "sure, we'll return your money, less a $150
service fee". Why? because "we cash your cheque as soon as we approve you for tenancy".
What service? What to do? We never signed a lease, and we never moved into the apartment. In fact, this all happened within a few days of the current apartment's tenants giving two months' notice... so the apartment has never even been vacant.
Does this mean that this is a small claims court
matter, or the Landlord and Tenant Board
? I notice that the LTB website says, "The rent deposit must be used for the rent for the last month before the tenancy ends. It cannot be used for anything else, such as to pay for damages."
I'm not paying that $150. I'll take them to small claims court, phone their CEO, or write op-ed articles for newspapers if I have to.
Any legal eagles or other experienced negotiators have suggestions for how to proceed in talking with these jerks? My girlfriend has had enough and passed on the manager's contact information to me, so I have an opportunity to start fresh.