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When you want to know what’s happening in housing, you go to the experts. That’s why the FTC joined renters, renters’ advocates, and researchers in Atlanta to hear about issues affecting renters. They told us that the rise of institutional investors and corporate landlords since the financial crisis has contributed to rising rents, hidden junk fees, issues with online portals, and predatory lease-to-own schemes. Here are some takeaways from housing advocates and renters:

  • Corporate landlords and junk fees are affecting affordability. Prices are rising, hidden and bogus fees are more common, and evictions are easier. Some landlords even charge fees on paying rent through their mandatory payment portals. The FTC has a proposed rule to stop junk fees. If a landlord is tacking on fees you didn’t know about or authorize, tell the FTC.
  • Rent-to-own and equity skimming schemes are targeting people. Deceptive rent-to-own schemes say you can buy in installments, but don’t make clear the conditions that mean it’s nearly impossible for you to actually rent to own. Sale leaseback schemes say you can sell your home to a company for cash up front, but stay in your home. What’s not clear, though, is that the bait-and-switch tactics and misleading terms can lead to you losing your cash or your home. If someone offered you cash for your house, report it to the FTC.
  • Online portals for maintenance and utility billing fees are on the rise. Increasingly, landlords make renters use online portals to send maintenance requests. While it looks like help is on the way, renters are often left with units in disrepair. Renters also reported on landlord shell companies that charge a “utility fee” on top of renters’ monthly bills.

The FTC is committed to fighting abuses in the rental market. We heard from renters in Atlanta, and now we want to hear from you. Please tell us your story.

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Anonymous
June 27, 2024

Thank you so much for sharing and keeping us informed. The young and Old. We truly appreciate everything that you do to protect us from the outside scammers, near and far.

Desiree Johnson
June 27, 2024

Please look into AMH. I have a stack of evidence against them. Now that I know you exist, I will be filing with you against them. Their horrific treatment towards their clients needs to be stopped.

Agnes M Jones
June 27, 2024

Some renters can just like squter ok an they don't pay rent all the time just when they want to an destroy your property no

Velcru
July 03, 2024

Some drunk owners are asking renters to advance rental payments before they are due.. There are cases where the owner owes money to the renters , but continue to ask for the monthly payment.

Linda
June 27, 2024

we are having this problem but afraid of repercussions or problems since we live in this apartment who can I call for questions

Stevon
July 03, 2024

A Tennant in my place, not paying and refused to leave, and asking the courts for time after time, and we have to pay all the bills , she drop the
F.B and us , slam doors , we are seniors

Diane Jackson
June 27, 2024

I’m a renter in a what is supposed to be senior living
I’ve been living here for 4 years
In the beginning I was paying 678.00 monthly
I now pay 861.00 monthly
I used to get a 20.00 utility allowance every February except this year
I’ve asked why they continue to charge me rent increases every year
I was told that it’s the market value amount!
Everyone has to sign a document for them for some sort of discount from the state!
I’m not totally understanding why I have to pay the high rent and the landlord gets the discounts
Is there any way that you could investigate this issue??
To see if indeed I am receiving the right information in regards to the rent increases and the state discounts??

FTC Staff
June 27, 2024

In reply to by Diane Jackson

The federal government has a website and call center to help older adults get information about housing and many other services. Call the Elder Care Locator at 1-800-677-1116 between 8 am and 9 pm eastern time Monday through Friday. Or go online to https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/index.aspx and type your zip code into the search bar to learn about the housing in your area.

Sandra D
June 27, 2024

In the last place I rented, years after moving out I received a bills and calls from a collection agency regarding fees for damages.

The first invoice I received was from the collections agency, nothing from the place I rented from. The first invoice was received 2 years after I moved.

There was no picture of the damage, no detailed description of the damage, just a demand for payment or we are putting this on your credit report. I lived there for 6 months.

Needless to say it is on my credit report now and I am not paying a dime. This is predatory renting and another way to get "junk fees" out of renters that have since moved on. They probably thought I would be too scared of being turned down by other properties if or when I tried to rent again.

Leona Tudor
June 27, 2024

My landlord adds gas onto my rent.I have no control over it since they have a company that figures out what I have to pay. They will not explain to me how this is done and I feel that what they charge is unfair plus there is a $4 dollar utility fee added on that I have to pay for. The only gas usage iny apartment if for heat and the gas range but I have been chg'd as much as $72.00 for months when the heat has been turned off in the building.

Denise Ervin
June 27, 2024

We need to stop them buying up so many to start with. Just allowing them to own and basically control the market drastically impacts the availability of homes for first time buyers, retires looking to downside. I think they are the biggest impact on the market 'not moving.' They are the biggest part of the story that the media is missing. Even when limits are set, they will create another LLC and use it buy more. Take a look at a story out of Minnesota and a graph of the single family rentals owned by companies. It's double digits in many places.

Theodora Malcolm
June 27, 2024

(1)A tenant is forced to rent an apartment complex's washer and dryer(which is a separate fee from rent) and the decision to rent these cannot be changed for the life of the lease as well. If the tenant already owns a washer and dryer, the complex makes that tenant purchase renter's insurance. Very seldom does the tenant receive a new washer and dryer and maintenance does not repair them efficiently when they break down.
(2) Two to three times a year, the tenant's rent increases by $30 - $50 or more. This forces the already struggling tenant to fall farther and farther behind in rent payments. When a tenant can't afford anywhere else and is forced to move out, what can they do when they have to provide for their children? The system is already stressed with previous homeless families...funding is null from agencies.
(3) Wiring in seemingly well kept apartments need to be inspected more often. I know first-hand of a little boy who was shocked while taking a shower in this kind of apartment.
And yes, apartments are charging tenants to use their choice of online payment systems. I think I pay $3.95 each time I use it. Also, There is no more 5 day grace periods on rents. It is now the 1st of each month and after the 3rd, a $95 late fee is charged!

Dorthy Singleton
June 28, 2024

The Landlords where I live are going up on rent every year, even thou it is suppose to be according to your income. I am living with mice, bed bugs, roaches. The mice has caused an Infestation. HUD IS NO HELP

cheryl
June 28, 2024

This is not capitalism. It is pure greed. The selfishness is telling - it is not "business" it's "the sky's the limit". The government needs to step in to stop it. If the government does not step in then just who is going to actually pay the taxes to fund local, state and federal government? I'm sure these greedy people have also figured many ways to avoid taxes on anything that doesn't go directly into their pockets. Fast track to third-world status in the name of anything for money. Very sad situation.

Ella Braddock
July 03, 2024

My name is Ella Braddock and Jessica Braddock' we applied for a two bedroom apartment supposed to be affordable we were diend the apartment because were $20.00 over the income guide lines I am 71 years old and on a fixed income? Who is affordable housing for if not for me and my daughter and grandson?!

FedUp
June 28, 2024

What about the mom and pop landlords that own 1 or 2 rentals? What's being done to protect them from corporate landlords buying up properties and taking away a previously affordable way to supplement income? How about renters who damage property above the amount of the security deposit, take advantage of landlords by bringing laundry from non-renters to wash and dry at the landlord's expense? Renters aren't the only victims here.

Dorothy Singleton
June 28, 2024

I have been living at this property for 8 years, funded by HUD and suppose to pay rent according to your income, then why is my rent going up every year? I have been experiencing in my apartment mice an infestation, when a couple are killed. There are more that comes in my apartment. The property managers hire exterminators who really do not know how to get rid of the problem. Also this property deals with Bed Bugs, and roaches. so I took my rent and went to home depot and purchased sticky broads to catch the mice. now the property manager has gave me a 30 day tendency. this company has discriminated against me several times. denied me reasonable accommodation until he realized it is Law. I've reached out to Legal aid Attorney for help, don't be bullied by corrupt Landlords.

Carlos Morcate
July 01, 2024

The march to extract every $ folks have is on. Let'm run folks off their shelters. They'll end up with empty apartments or houses, and have to eat them !!!. What we see is unbridled capitalism, greed at its worst. Hurray for our way of life! The best in the world, isn't it?

Wendy M Woods
July 01, 2024

As a renter; I'm always dealing with corrupt landlords/ property managers schemes and tactics. They'll have you to sign documents, but they don't want to give you a copy of what you have signed.
That's a dead giveaway right there. Unless; they are hiding something and don't want you to know the reason why they are doing what they're doing to you.

CJP
July 01, 2024

I was pleased to have an opportunity to tell myy story, but when I tried to, all I got was a black screen!

Carol Joy
July 01, 2024

I have tried to tell my story" using Firefox and Safari and got the same black page,= each time. What's going on?

Julie
July 01, 2024

One issue that I face is that if I want to go to a month-to-month rent, my landlord adds $500 a month called a month-to-month fee. So I end up getting railroaded into signing a lease every year, which always has an increase attached to it, at least 10% every year.

Atef Hafez
July 05, 2024

Escaping from HOA’s dictatorial policies and denial of my preset bylaws, we were pushed out from our home which we love but to seek peace somewhere else. Earlier, I went to court for judgement, but the judicial system here in Milwaukee County seems to need its own adjustments. While the first judge presiding my pleas at the first hearing told me to bring specific mailing receipts to the defendants, the second judge dismissed the case for not following the Summons Rules. Back to the main subject: Renting a home by an investor(s) for $2500/a month, excluding $250 for the first month fees. The monthly rental charge including mandatory $80.00 for cableTV and internet, the TV we don’t use, and the internet service which I used before moving for less than half the charges. In addition, to advance payment of more than $1500.00 “assumed to be paid back at the end of the lease”, as well as, other for miscellaneous application
fees.
We’re senior citizens, I’m disabled US Army chemist.
Could FTC help American Consumers “ little more “. Thanks.

Gemma Stone
July 22, 2024

I live in a mobile home community. Our community was closed down in 2020. The building consisted of a rec room, gym, shower room for the pool, and office. The office moved to a home in the community, but all the rec room is still closed for maintenance (fountain problems) they started to work on the problem mid 2023. The pooled last year, with problems, this year open and closed off and on. (mostly closed). We used to have one picnic and NYE gathering, 2-3 bus trips and a food bank truck came once a month. This all stopped in 2020, but our rent of the land continues to rise. When I moved here the rent increased from 1% to 3%, now it increased by 5.5% to 6% increase without amenities. There are a lot of senior citizens, people on disability income, single-parent homes, and low-income families that cannot afford a $50 to $70 monthly rent increase. The large corporation that owns our community (and many others) finally hired a manager (the last manager quit early ).