It’s already very expensive to rent in a hot housing market like Southern California. Now landlords have found a way to make things even worse.
A growing number of property owners and managers are hitting tenants with extra fees each month — a nickel-and-diming of people that the airlines, for one, have made a core aspect of their business model.
It’s been common for years for landlords to charge more for a parking space or having a pet.
The new fees being levied — which might run an additional $5 or $10 each — cover a wide range of once-gratis services, including trash pickup, pest control, use of a mailbox and routine maintenance requests.
“A lot of this stuff used to just be called ‘rent,'” Mike Vraa, a Minnesota tenant attorney, told the Wall Street Journal.
Now, apparently, it’s gravy.
Just as airlines once doled out pillows, blankets and other amenities as a free service, now these goodies are a revenue source.
Landlords, many of whom faced financial challenges during the pandemic, apparently think a few new revenue streams would work for them as well.
As a result, some now charge fees for moving in and moving out. Some have fees for “lease administration” (whatever that is). One Minnesota landlord collects a $100 “January fee” on the first month of the year.
A January fee!
In suburban Phoenix, a number of buildings are instructing tenants to leave their garbage near the front door and then slapping them with a $30 monthly fee for someone to schlep the garbage to a dumpster.
“I can carry the trash 50 feet to the dumpster,” tenant Debbie Giannecchini complained to the Journal. She said she moved out of a building that started imposing a valet fee for trash.
Rents rose by 25% from early 2021 to summer of 2022 as landlords sought to make up for pandemic losses.
For many people, therefore, added fees are just another kick in teeth.
An executive at one Midwest apartment company told the Journal that the firm more than doubled its income from fees at nearly two-dozen rental properties.
“People pay it,” the executive said.
That’s because people need a place to live.
It doesn’t justify the practice.