November 17, 2023 — Article

The FTC has proposed a Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees. This rule is designed to address junk fees charged to consumers, including junk fees charged to renters

Rental junk fees may include:

  • Rental application fees
  • Processing or administrative fees
  • Notice fees
  • Charges in lieu of a security deposit
  • Pet fees or pet rent
  • Pest control fees
  • Fees to rent month-to-month instead of on an annual basis
  • Roommate and guest-related fees
  • Inspection fees
  • Excessive late fees
  • Convenience fees
  • Fees charged by new corporate landlords
  • Check cashing fees
  • Trash fees
  • Technology package/internet and cable-related fees
  • Court costs and attorney’s fees
  • Cleaning and repair fees
  • Mail sorting fees
  • Utilities-related fees
  • Insurance fees
  • High-risk fees
  • Fees to report payment info to the credit bureaus
  • Valet trash fees
  • Fees to “hold” an apartment
  • Common area and amenity-related fees
  • Maintenance fees
  • Fees charged each January

You can help the FTC create strong protections for renters by filing a comment, even if it’s just a few sentences. The questions below will help you tell them:

  • What type of rental junk fees you are seeing, 
  • How they impact you and/or your clients, and 
  • Whether you think the FTC’s proposed rule would help.

Questions to consider answering in your comment: 

  1. Are you a renter? 
  1. Are you an advocate that works with renters? If yes, say more about where you work (e.g., location, type of organization, name of organization) and what your role is.
  1. What kind of rental junk fees do you see and how much are those fees?
  1. How have those rental junk fees impacted you or your clients? (e.g., increased housing costs or risk of eviction, limits on housing options, etc.)
  1. The FTC’s proposed rule would require landlords to display the total price, including mandatory fees. Do you think that would help address the rental junk fees that you see?
  1. The FTC’s proposed rule would also prohibit landlords from misrepresenting any amounts that renters must pay (e.g., charging a fee for a service not actually provided, listing a fee as optional but then making it difficult to opt-out, or misrepresenting the value of a service). Do you think that would help address the rental junk fees that you see?

NOTE: If you have examples of bills or a lease containing the rental junk fee(s) that you mention above, you can upload that and attach it to your comment.

Deadline for comments is February 7, 2024.

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