As rent costs continue to skyrocket across the Sunshine State, a new bill aims to put an end to the growing number of junk fees renters face when looking for housing.
Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10) unveiled the End Junk Fees for Renters Act last week in an effort to crack down on landlords who sneak extra fees into leases despite soaring rental costs across the nation.
Frost introduced the bill after hearing stories of Floridians struggling to pay for the cost of housing, only to discover additional “surprise fees” that are foisted on them as part of lease agreements. These additional costs sometimes aren’t communicated to renters ahead of signing their leases. The proposed bill, Frost says, would help end that.
“The End Junk Fees for Renters Act is about standing firmly on the side of renters and working people while holding greedy landlords and leasing companies accountable. It’s time to end the ridiculous fees and fight for housing justice and transparency,” Congressman Frost said in a statement.
The End Junk Fees for Renters Act would crack down on junk fees by banning application and screening fees, making it easier for consumers to make more informed choices when it comes to renting. The bill would also:
- require late fees to apply as credit to next month’s rent.
- prohibit credit score screening in the rental application process.
- require landlords to disclose in the rental contract: past and present litigation with tenants; ongoing pest and maintenance issues; rent increase percentages year after year over the last 10 years; and the total amount that will be due each month, which will put an end to surprise fees.
Although many progressive policies proposed over the years by members of Congress–such as legislation to raise the federal minimum wage, strengthen workers’ rights, and establish a national healthcare system, among others–have rarely been passed, Frost remains hopeful that the proposal, which is backed by housing advocacy groups such as the National Housing Law Project and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, will be passed.
“Renters across Central Florida and our nation deserve to live with dignity, to know the full cost of their housing up front, and to have the power to drive costs down,” Frost said.