Rep. Cruz introduces bill to eliminate rental application fees
Bill is part of Speaker Shekarchi’s legislative package addressing the housing crisis in Rhode Island
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Cherie L. Cruz (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) has introduced legislation (2023-H 6087) which would eliminate housing rental application fees. The bill is part of House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi’s (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) 14-bill package of legislation to address Rhode Island’s housing crisis.
“Every day Rhode Islanders are increasingly struggling to provide for their families. When combined with the rising costs of housing and the lack of acceptable and safe inventory, rental application fees are an obstacle and burden for our most vulnerable residents in search of housing. We have heard from families who have spent thousands on rental application fees – without being able to secure an apartment. Eliminating these burdensome fees will help our struggling residents and families during their already frustrating pursuit of housing, and a step in the right direction in leveling the playing field in our state,” said Representative Cruz.
The bill states that a landlord, lessor, sub-lessor, real estate broker, property management company, or designee shall not be allowed to require or demand any prospective tenant to pay a rental application fee. The legislation does not affect a landlord’s ability to charge for a BCI or credit report (which tenants are able to reuse, instead of having to pay for multiple times). The legislation would go into effect on January 1, 2024.
The bill has been referred to the House Municipal Government and Housing Committee and will be heard on March 16.