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Officials: Boise could see rent application fee regulations

City Council member Lisa Sanchez suggests capping application fees at $50.

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho city councilwoman has proposed placing restrictions on rental application fees after residents have complained of high cost, officials said.

Boise City Council member Lisa Sánchez discussed suggesting an ordinance that would stop people who take fees with no intention to rent, or whose fees are unreasonably high, the Idaho Statesman reported Sunday.

Mandy Mondragon, 36, was formerly homeless before finding residence in a hotel after weeks of applying to apartments in southwestern Idaho.

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There were times when landlords would not inform applicants that the building was full before the application fees were paid, Mondragon said. It cost more than $750 a month just to be considered.

If regulations were in place, it could have helped save time and money, Mondragon said.

"To discover that we have some folks that are trying to supplement their own incomes by taking advantage of renters isn't acceptable," Sánchez said.

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Capping application fees at $50 or completely eliminating them would be a step toward affordable housing in Boise, Sánchez said.

There is no timeline on when the city council could see the proposed restrictions, officials said.

An application fee restriction below $50 could damage business, Aloha Property Management owner John Davidson said.

Aloha receives about $45 from the $50 fee and it takes anywhere from $43 to $47 to run the application, he said.

He would consider supporting a licensing requirement for landlords if one were proposed, because predatory landlords and property managers give reputable ones a bad name, Davidson said.

"If you're doing everything correctly, what do you have to hide?" he asked.

Mayor of Boise David Bieter is "supportive of the concept" and is interested in exploring it further, spokesman Mike Journee said.

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