Apartment 'viewing fees' shock Calgary woman looking to rent

A woman trying to find a place to rent in Calgary says she has been shocked by the demands landlords in the city make.
Trish Nicholson says it's hard enough finding a place to rent in Calgary without landlords charging a fee to show units to prospective renters. (CBC)

A woman trying to find a place to rent in Calgary says she has been shocked by the demands landlords in the city make.

Trish Nicholson, who has spent months looking for a home since moving from Vancouver, says some Calgary landlords are even charging a $25 viewing fee just to let her a look at an apartment.

However, one of the property management companies she was referring to told CBC News the $25 is an application fee charged after a viewing if a prospective renter want to lease a unit. 

A spokesperson for Service Alberta told CBC News there is nothing illegal about charging a viewing fee, but noted that there has been a substantial increase in the number of people from Calgary contacting the province about landlord and tenant issues.

Nicholson says she has encountered other frustrations as well.    

“They'll list it for $1,285 but by the time you show up its $1,450, $1,650 and there's all the fees on top of that,” she said.

“You know the list seems to go on and on. It’s almost like they make it up as you go.”

Nicholson said as the rental market in Calgary shrinks, the demands from landlords seem to get longer and more outrageous.

“I pretty much visit five sites a day.”

The situation leaves Nicholson, a mature working professional, with very few options, she said.

“I'll have to leave Calgary, bottom line. If I can't afford to live here, I can't afford to live here.”

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