White House Targets Landlord ‘Junk Fees’

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion is call­ing on states to issue more reg­u­la­tions around so-called “junk ” for renters, reports Andrew Kesh­n­er in Mar­ket­Watch. “These costs, which often come as a sur­prise, include fees, admin­is­tra­tive fees, park­ing fees, and even pet fees.”

Accord­ing to Kesh­n­er, “As part of the anti-junk fee cam­paign, sev­er­al states issued new rules around these fees, and Zil­low, the real-estate mar­ket­place, intro­duced a ‘cost of rent­ing sum­ma­ry’ that runs through all the fees a renter can expect to pay.”

But “Trans­paren­cy sur­round­ing these fees is not the same as remov­ing them, rental hous­ing advo­cates say.” Dis­clo­sures, while a step for­ward, “don’t do any­thing to lessen or the fees.” Ariel Nel­son, a staff attor­ney with the Nation­al Con­sumer Law Cen­ter, many of the mech­a­nisms used by land­lords are inher­ent­ly prob­lem­at­ic. “ checks and wide-rang­ing ten­ant screen­ing can con­tain inac­cu­ra­cies, Nel­son said. Ten­ant-screen­ing reports can unfair­ly reveal a per­son­’s entan­gle­ments with the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, includ­ing an arrest that result­ed in a case being dis­missed, she not­ed.”

A U.S. of Hous­ing and Devel­op­ment study found that Black, His­pan­ic, and Asian-Amer­i­can renters are “much more like­ly” to be charged appli­ca­tion fees than renters, Kesh­n­er adds. 

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