Shelling out for rental applications in Reno-Sparks? You're not alone.

Shelling out for rental applications in Reno-Sparks? You're not alone. (KRNV)

Mike Harrison has shelled out a lot money looking for an apartment. Each time he submits his application and the apartment complex does a background check, it costs him.

A News 4 investigation found that apartment complexes in the Reno-Sparks area charge different application fees, ranging from $25 to $100.

And there's not just one application for one apartment. One agency admitted to collecting 200 applications for just one apartment. Each of those potential renters paid an application fee.

They might be able to get away with this practice because the rental market in the Reno-Sparks area has never been so tight, with a 1 percent vacancy rate. And the rental prices have never been so high.

"It doesn't feel right. It's terrible," renter Alex Brondo said about the amount of application and fees that complexes accept.

He said it's not ethical.

"I think it's ridiculous. Yeah, it's not fair especially when you have three to four people and one apartment," Brondo said.

Mike Harrison submitted an application to be considered for an apartment in Reno.

"He had told me ahead of time it's $40," Harrison said.

But he said he warned the new place that his last apartment complex tried to evict him for a late rent payment and ended up taking him to court. The case was just dismissed.

"I was upfront with them," Harrison said.

Even with that information, he said the new place still took $80 for Harrison's background check and his roommate's. They told him he was approved and gave him a welcome letter with a move-in date.

"At first he says approved but ... on their computer it says denied because of that attempted eviction," Harrison said.

The complex never gave Harrison back his application fee.

Harrison found another apartment and had to pay another expensive background check and application fee.

"It was $50 each, plus a $100 administrative fee, which they said goes toward the processing of the application," Harrison said.

His background was clear this time, and he's already moved in.

A couple of complexes said they put an apartment on hold until a background check and an application clear. They said they would not have additional applications and fees in the meantime.

Not one of the dozen complexes News 4 talked with would do an on-camera interview about their fees or policies.

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