July 19, 2023 — Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden will announce a crackdown on rental housing junk fees that undermine housing stability. Citing a recent National Consumer Law Center report, the Biden Administration is calling attention to the significant harm that rental housing junk fees cause to tenants and outlined steps the Administration is taking to curb junk fees.

“Rental housing junk fees put safe and decent housing even more out of reach because renters must pay them on top of sky-high rents,” said Ariel Nelson, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. “We are greatly encouraged that the Biden Administration is taking rental housing junk fees seriously, and we recognize that the measures announced today from private companies are steps in the right direction.”

NCLC’s recent report Too Damn High: How Junk Fees Add to Skyrocketing Rents discussed the pervasive nature of junk fees in the rental market and made policy recommendations to minimize the harm to renters.

The report found that in addition to sky-high rent prices, a number of junk fees, including pet fees, deposits, pest control fees, and even a “January fee,” are contributing to the affordable housing shortage. Junk fees add to the already heavy burden that exorbitant rents place on renters, with over 40% of renter households—19 million households—in the United States being “cost burdened,” i.e., paying over 30% of their income on housing costs.

“We look forward to working with the Biden Administration in the upcoming months to shape policy so that tenants will face a more affordable and more fair rental market,” said April Kuehnhoff, senior attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.

Each year, consumers pay tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars in junk fees on bank accounts, credit cards, rental agreements, and other goods and services. Junk fees are even tacked onto debts by debt collectors and imposed on incarcerated people and their families trying to pay for necessities. Learn more about NCLC’s work to fight junk fees

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