FTC Advances Rental Junk Fees Rulemaking

Industry News,

On April 24, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a virtual informal hearing on its proposed trade regulation entitled “Rule on Unfair and Deceptive Fees” which would impact virtually every American business that requires consumers to pay fees for goods or services, including rental housing.

This hearing—a part of the FTC’s unique rulemaking process—provided selected business and consumer advocates an opportunity to present their perspectives on the proposed rule; however, it was not intended to allow public dialogue as no time was allotted for Q&A. Given that most participating organizations vocalized support for the FTC’s approach except for telecommunications industry representatives, the hearing also helped the FTC generate public support for its efforts to eliminate “junk fees” and require disclosure of all-in pricing across industries.

One hearing participant, representing the National Consumer Law Center, argued in favor of the rental housing industry’s inclusion in the blanket rule, accusing the industry of imposing “fees with vague names and unclear purposes and fees that far exceed the cost of providing a service” and urging the FTC to go a step further by issuing an advisory opinion that prescriptively defines the rule’s application to rental transactions.

Read More