November 27, 2023 — Featured News

Airing on WBUR on Nov. 27, 2023, Simón Rios interviewed NCLC Senior Attorney Ariel Nelson for coverage of apartment application fees. Amid a region-wide housing shortage, advocates say application fees are on the rise, even when they’re not allowed.

Where allowed, application fees can be used for legitimate reasons — like to pay firms that screen criminal, rental and financial records. But renters have no way of knowing what they’re paying for, or if their money will be refunded if they’re not selected for an apartment.

“Maybe they get a ton of applications for one unit, and they start going through the stack. They find someone who looks great, and they take them,” Nelson explained. “But did they refund everyone else’s fees? Probably not.”

Ariel Nelson, senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

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