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Biden going after 'junk fees' in housing

The White House is working with housing websites to make pricing more transparent for renters.
A rental sign outside a home in Philadelphia.
Posted at 11:58 AM, Jul 19, 2023

Renters may be able to save money after the Biden administration secured commitments from ZillowApartments.com and AffordableHousing.com.

The websites have committed to listing upfront costs a person would incur if they choose to inquire or rent a property.

Zillow launched a new feature on Wednesday called the "Cost of Renting Summary." It details all costs associated with the rental property, including security deposits and application fees. 

Apartments.com said it would be launching a new calculator on its platform that will detail the prices of all upfront costs and recurring monthly fees. 

Lastly, AffordableHousing.com said it will now require owners to disclose all refundable and non-refundable fees in their listings. 

"By providing the true costs of rent, people can make an informed decision about where to live and not be surprised by additional costs that push them over budget," the White House said in a statement. 

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The White House is also asking Congress to step in and address "junk fees."Later this month, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will host its first-ever hearing on the fees.

In addition, theDepartment of Housing and Urban Development has laid out strategies that policymakers implement to reduce the unexpected fees renters face. They include eliminating or capping application fees, allowing prospective renters to provide their own screening reports and allowing a single application fee to cover inquiries of multiple homes.

"Too often, renters are hit with unexpected fees on top of their rent," said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. "Today’s announcement shows the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to lower costs for renters and build a fairer, more transparent rental housing marketplace."

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