We all know that living in D.C. isn’t cheap, and housing costs are no exception. While some states like Massachusetts and Vermont prohibit landlords from charging application fees, other areas including D.C. allow for some pretty hefty add-ons to compensate for processing and administrative costs.
In a recent statement regarding rental fees and protections for D.C. renters, Attorney General Brian Schwalb alerted residents about the legal protections against excessive fees throughout the housing application process. Naturally, application fees are top of mind, as they are now limited to $52 and below.
If you find yourself applying for housing, keep in mind that, under D.C. law, landlords now cannot charge more than $52 for application fees. This limit is in effect for 2024, but could be adjusted upwards in 2025.
Other protections include those against “junk fees” that might arise after signing a rental agreement. This refers to “any fees that are unclear, are not used for their stated purpose, are used to cover a service a landlord is required to provide to rent a livable space, or that adds burdens for people who use rental assistance.”
For those who encounter excessive fees or “junk fees” during the housing application process, the following actions may be taken: