ORANGEVALE (CBS13) –  An Orangevale renter said he was required to pay a $40 application fee, just to view an apartment.

Jerrald Cummings said it’s happening with several property management companies during the pandemic.

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“It just seems like a hustle,” Cummings said.

He found a potential apartment on the Results Property Management website, but to view it, he had to fill out an application and pay that $40.

“I don’t want to apply for something I’ve never seen,” Cummings said.

The owner of the company told us they changed their policy during the pandemic because they can only show properties to one applicant at a time and pre-screening allows them to separate serious applicants from “tire kickers.” It also allows them to avoid spending time showing properties to people who won’t qualify.

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“I honestly think it’s dumb to pay before,” Cummings said.

The company told us no one’s money is actually at risk. Applicants who view the properties and aren’t interested get a refund in 2-3 days. Renters like Jerrald don’t think they should have to put down a deposit just to view a home.

“When you’re applying each time and you’re paying, it just seems more like you’re being hustled,” he said.

The California Apartment Association told us there is no law against charging an application fee before viewing.

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The company said they will stop taking fees up front when it’s safe to hold open houses again.