White House Targets Junk Fees in Housing Rentals

July 19, 2023

The Biden Administration is demanding more transparency for renters on upfront advertised rental fees from online real-estate companies.

In a statement, the White House called rental housing “a new front in [President Biden’s] crackdown on junk fees.”

“Rental application fees can be up to $100 or more per application, and, importantly, they often exceed the actual cost of conducting the background and credit checks,” according to the White House.

“Given that prospective renters often apply for multiple units over the course of their housing search, these application fees can add up to hundreds of dollars,” the White House further asserts. “Even after renters secure housing, they are often surprised to be charged mandatory fees on top of their rent, including ‘convenience fees’ to pay rent online, fees for things like mail sorting and trash collection, and even so-called ‘January fees‘ charged for no clear reason at the beginning of a new calendar year.”

The Administration lists steps it’s taking to crack down on the hidden junk fees, including new commitments from online platforms. Already companies such as Zillow, Apartments.com and AffordableHousing.com have agreed to adhere to the Administration’s call for clarity about how many additional charges renters may face.

The White House is also requesting that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provide a “blueprint for a nationwide effort to address rental housing junk fees.”

The Administration is further calling for legislative action in states across the country to aid in the rental junk fees crackdown. 

The latest action from the White House is a continuation of the promise Biden made in his State of the Union Address this past February to crack down on junk fees across numerous industries, including air travel, credit card services, health care costs, and concert and sports tickets.

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