Lease run again? What you need to know about application fees and background checks

Finding an apartment in Southwest Florida can be extremely difficult. Low inventory and high rent. But one’s struggle to find where to live is revealing a hidden problem that you need to know about.

WINK News investigative reporter Celine McArthur investigates whether this was a hire.

If you’re looking for Pembroke Pines apartments, you’re probably flipping through rental websites, looking for something in your area and price range When you find an app that works for you, you can immediately jump to the online application where you can apply for it before it disappears. That’s what a restaurant worker in Naples did, and it didn’t end well.

Rosedo Ruiz, 36, is a chef at Brooks Burgers in Naples. He worked in the kitchen for eight years.

“I have family here,” explains Ruiz. “I’ve got my friends in. I like my position to work.”

So his boss Todd Brooks was frustrated when Ruiz said he was leaving.

“One of my best chefs at this restaurant came up to me and said, Todd, I don’t think I can work for you anymore,” Brooks said.

Ruiz goes to his boss and says he is about to become homeless. His landlord is selling and he can’t find another apartment.

It’s a housing issue that’s been bothering Brooks employees.

“Five of our 15 seasonal workers called us and told us they weren’t coming back. And in particular, they say, there is no housing. They said we couldn’t do that,” Brooks said. “And that’s where I thought, Well, wait, hold, hold, let me see what we can do to help you.”

That’s when Brooks discovered something suspicious.

“He spent, like, $1,000 in application fees trying to find a spot,” Brooks said. “And I said ‘What do you mean?’ “Every time I come in, they ask for money,” he said.

“When I got there they said okay, your application was approved, but you are on a waiting list,” Ruiz said. He added, “They were like saying 20 or 100 people on the waiting list, but they didn’t tell me when we first applied.”

Ruiz says it happened here at The Point in Naples. On October 16, he paid West Shore LLC, the owner of the apartment complex, $333.57 for a background check and registration fee. Days later, he discovered he hadn’t made it to this place.

“They said, ‘Oh, the apartment is rented. But we have one more,” Ruiz said. When he told him he wanted another unit in the complex, Ruiz said they made him apply again.
A week later, West Shore LLC charged him $331.95 for another registration and background check fee. That time, Ruiz said he was turned down for not being eligible. So he shelled out $665.52 in fees just for this one apartment complex.

“He gets the full week’s pay that he gets assigned to the property manager,” Brooks said.

I went to the complex to find some answers. The staff would not speak and refused to give me the full name and contact information of their manager. I then contacted West Shore LLC in Boston.

Minutes after my call, almost half of Ruiz’s money was refunded. The rest was returned the next morning. The company will not talk about Ruiz’s case for privacy reasons. They also won’t tell us how they handle applications where there are multiple people competing for the same unit.

Real estate agent RE/MAX and property manager Melanie Listrom do not represent Ruiz or The Point in Naples, but I asked her to consider it.

“It shouldn’t have happened, because they shouldn’t have taken an application if it wasn’t available. You know, it’s sort of like bait and conversion,” Listrom said.

She doesn’t know what happened here but claims that some property managers don’t always do the job they charge you for.

“Sometimes they get an app, they don’t even run it,” says Listrom. “They just took the application so it sat there.”

Brooks found Ruiz an apartment and secured it for him by co-signing it.

“It’s hard to find good people, much less if you lose good people, then you’re really in trouble,” says Brooks. “So it’s partly a business decision, and partly because it’s in the restaurant industry. And I think I tell most restaurants, they treat their staff like family.”

“I was very happy,” said Ruiz. “And I told my wife we ​​have a place to live.”

Before you apply, ask questions. Is the unit available? How many people have applied? Is there a waiting list for that unit? And if you’re wondering if they do a background check, you can ask for proof.

If there’s something you’d like me to investigate, email me at [email protected] Lease run again? What you need to know about application fees and background checks

Aila Slisco

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