The Rise of Sneaky Rental Fees

By: Anneken Tappe · September 06, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Fee Frenzy

Renters in America have had to contend with rising costs for a while now. But it’s not just the rents themselves that are getting loftier.

Renters expect to pay for added perks like a parking spot or even keeping a pet in their home. But lease agreements across the nation are increasingly listing fees for things that renters never had to pay for in the past.

Extra Revenue For Landlords

The new fees may only be five to ten dollars per instance, but over the year they can add up to hundreds of dollars. America’s largest landlords have been using these additional payments to secure extra revenue. Annual fee income per lease for the nation’s five largest single-family-home rental landlords rose by about 40% between 2018 and 2021, according to a report from the House Financial Services Committee.

Some of these new fees include:

•   Trash pickup fees

•   Pest control fees

•   Lease administration fees when you move out

•   Mailbox fees

•   Application fees

•   Background check fees

On top of that, some landlords are even starting to charge for routine maintenance requests even though maintenance has traditionally been covered by the landlord.

Fighting Back

The cost of renting has surged over the past few years, with the apartment asking rents rising 25% between 2021 and 2022. And that’s on top of all the other higher costs of living that came with the elevated inflation of the past years. The silver lining is that the federal government, as well as a handful of states, are starting to crack down on exorbitant fees.

For example, the White House is working with major listing platforms to force apartment complexes to disclose all fees and costs alongside open listings. Additionally, Maine and Colorado have started to put caps on the amount that landlords can charge for specific fees.

For tenants, this rise in fees serves as a stark reminder to fully read your lease agreement before moving in. As always, you gotta read the fine print.

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