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Has it Come to This – Rent Bidding Wars – are they even Legal?


“Dear PoPville,

I don’t know if anyone else has asked about this, but today we just got some bad news on an apartment we paid $55 dollars each to apply for. The application asked for W2s, paystubs, current and previous jobs, 5 years rental history with landlords’ contact information, SSN, Driver’s License number, make and model of car. My god, everything but our first born. After obtaining all of this info, paying the fee, and even writing a cover letter for this apartment, we were informed there were two other applications in and that the realtor would present them to the landlord, and he/she would decide who was the “best fit.” I later received a text message informing us, and I quote, “Hello. Thank you for taking the time to submit an offer. Owner received very aggressive offers. Unfortunately owner has accepted another application at this time. I will definitely let you know should property come back on the market. Many regards.”

I was curious why two young professional women with very good incomes (one of whom is a landlord herself) got turned down. So I called the realtor. She explained to me that the others had offered her substantially more money and that we shouldn’t have put the application in the first place.


If there had been a bidding war unbeknownst to us, wouldn’t it be best practice (maybe even the legal thing to do) to inform all your applicants of this before submitting an application, or at least before selecting, allow for all applications to make their best offers?

Now we are out $110 without even ever been seriously looked at – they didn’t even use this fee to run credit/background checks, or all any of our references.

Does anyone have any insight into this matter, legal or otherwise?”

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