July 26, 2023

Congressman Maxwell Frost Introduces Pro Renters Bill to End Junk Fees

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10) was joined by Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and housing advocates as he unveiled his newest piece of legislation, the End Junk Fees for Renters Act, a bill aimed at putting an end to the growing number of excessive and dishonest junk fees renters face when looking for and securing housing.

Watch the Press Conference Here

Frost’s bill, which comes as Florida is on the frontlines of a housing affordability crisis that continues to squeeze working people and renters, focuses on bringing relief and transparency to millions across the nation suffering as the average cost of rent continues to skyrocket.

A victim of the discriminatory rental market himself, Congressman Frost introduced the legislation after months of hearing stories of Floridians across the state crushed by the debilitating cost of housing and the surprise fees that pile on as part of lease agreements.

The End Junk Fees for Renters Act cracks down on junk fee profiteering by landlords and gives power to tenants. Specifically, the legislation:

  • Cracks down on junk fees by banning application and screening fees;
  • Puts an end to late fee profiteering by requiring late fees apply as credit to next month’s rent; 
  • Prohibits credit score screening in the rental application process;
  • Requires that landlords 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 ten years; and
    • The total amount that will be due each month, which will put an end to surprise fees.
  • Would help consumers comparison shop and make more informed choices when it comes to renting, inevitably driving down overall costs in the rental market and improving living conditions.

“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. Working people shouldn’t have to work two or three jobs to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of renting in our state while landlords excessively profit,” said Congressman Maxwell Frost. “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.”

“I’m thrilled that only a month after launching the first ever Congressional Renters Caucus, we were able to get this bill out the door that will directly benefit renters nationwide, including in my district where 78% of households rent. Renters are already paying exorbitant housing costs, and these junk fees are just adding more financial burden,” said Congressman Jimmy Gomez. “Our bill builds on the announcement President Biden made last week to crack down on junk fees and demand more transparency from landlords. It’s time to give power back to renters.”

“As families across the country struggle to pay rent, they fall behind on groceries, medical care, and other necessary expenses for survival. The last thing renters need is hidden or predatory fees that unfairly increase and complicate their housing costs,” said Shamus Roller, Executive Director, National Housing Law Project. “The End Junk Fees for Renters Act would ban application and screening fees, prohibit credit reports as screening criteria for applicants, and increase transparency of included costs for tenants’ monthly rent – giving tenants more power as they navigate a difficult rental market. NHLP celebrates Representative Frost’s leadership in this space, and we welcome this legislation as a key component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights.”

“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 at the National Consumer Law Center. “We applaud Representative Frost for filing the End Junk Fees for Renters Act and for raising awareness about the serious consumer harms caused by rental housing junk fees.”

“In the absence of needed regulations, landlords and property managers can profit immensely off of charging non-refundable rental application and screening fees to prospective tenants,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “For people with extremely low incomes, these fees quickly add up to drain savings and create an insurmountable barrier housing access. I applaud Representative Frost for his leadership introducing this bill, which would provide needed protections to tenants and increase housing access for people paid the lowest wages.”