Press Release

NHLP Applauds President’s Efforts to Crack Down on Junk Fees in Rental Housing

Biden-Harris Administration Take on Junk Fees in Rental Housing

President Biden announced a number of activities to go after junk fees in rental housing, highlighting abuses in rental application fees and other predatory fees charged to tenants. The statement features new research from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), highlights state action, and announces commitments from rental housing platforms to provide transparency on fees.

Protecting tenants in the current rental housing market is a priority of NHLP’s, including making sure that junk fees do not keep low-income tenants from accessing or retaining housing.

  • NHLP and the National Consumer Law Center sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau detailing a host of predatory fees that occur in the rental-housing context and their deleterious effects.
  • NHLP’s Litigation Director, Eric Dunn’s law review article, “The Case Against Rental Application Fees,” detailed how rental application fees abusively extract funds from rental applicants, subvert market dynamics, and stifle innovations like portable tenant screening reports, and likely contribute to residential segregation.
  • NHLP and members of the Housing Justice Network have also engaged with HUD, which referenced the law review article in their research brief.
  • NHLP and partners submitted extensive comments to the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to a Request for Information about tenant screening practices, calling for stronger regulation of the tenant screening industry.

Junk fees are an increasingly large problem for renters, especially as institutional investor landlords look for new ways to extract wealth from tenants. NHLP is particularly concerned with some landlords’ use fees to evict tenants, as well as the potential steering impact of application fees’ leading to greater racial and economic segregation.

We appreciate the White House’s attention to this issue and its leadership in the area of renter’s rights. We look forward to continued work together in implementing these important efforts.