The application process is the first step in verifying rental references, performing vital credit checks and gaining a commitment from your potential tenant. Application fees not only compensate you for your efforts involved in screening an applicant but also can help to reduce the number of unqualified applicants who may apply for your property. Applicants with a history of non-payment or bad credit often will not move forward with an application if there is a fee involved, however if there is no application fee collected they will move forward thereby wasting your time. Additionally, the collection of rental application fees sends a clear message to your applications that you handle the operation of your rental business in a professional manner. From the beginning this will serve to establish the tone that you are not a pushover and that while you are providing your tenants with a service, you also expect them to maintain their end of the agreement. A few things to keep in mind when establishing your rental application fee policy, the fee needs to be the same for all applicants and once collected you must perform the screening or return the funds.