FTC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Unfair or Deceptive Fees

12/05/2023 8:00 AM | Dawn Anastasi (Administrator)

Read the Full Paper Here

The FTC put out a 161-page paper. On page 22 the paper references fees in Rental Housing:

Comments from individual consumers about rental housing fees stated that leasing companies advertise monthly rents that do not include fees for mandatory ancillary services that unexpectedly and significantly increase renters’ monthly expenditures. The comments stated that leasing companies do not always identify the purpose of these fees.

Consumer and policy groups noted that landlords do not adequately disclose many unavoidable fees or fail to explain the purpose of fees, and supported a rulemaking pertaining to fees in connection with rental housing, including apartments, house rentals, and manufactured housing communities (“MHCs”).

The National Consumer Law Center (“NCLC”) conducted a survey of legal services and nonprofit attorneys that identified many unavoidable fees faced by tenants, and recommended that the FTC require that online platforms for rental advertisements disclose all fees, including fees charged before and after signing rental leases.

Private Equity Stakeholder Project supported enhanced fee disclosure requirements and upfront disclosure of the costs of goods and services to protect consumers and the economy at large. The comments also recommended that the FTC investigate unfair or deceptive practices related to housing fees and provide guidance on fees.

The comments also recommended that a rule prohibit certain rental-related fees as invalid per se because they are exploitative and target captive renters who often come from vulnerable groups. The comments stated that fees make rental housing even more unaffordable and jeopardize access to future housing and financial stability.

From the footnote:

NCLC noted that the survey was conducted between November and December of 2022, and showed that tenants face an array of unavoidable fees, including rental application fees, sometimes charged even if landlords know applications will never be approved, excessive late fees, utilities-related fees, processing or administrative fees, convenience fees, insurance fees, notice fees, trash fees, pest control fees, technology fees, common area and amenity-related fees, inspection fees, and mail sorting fees.

Rental Property Association of Wisconsin, Inc. (Formerly AASEW)
P.O. Box 4125
Milwaukee, WI 53204-7905
Phone: 414-276-7378

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