New Way For Landlords To Make Money? Charge Fees For Moving In, Trash Pickup, Use Of A Mailbox, Etc

For Rent sign
via Wealth Gang

In an era where you’re nickel-and-dimed for every extra inch on a plane and every gigabyte on your phone, why should the rental market be any different? Welcome to the latest trend in landlord earnings: charging for every conceivable convenience.

It seems like fees are the new normal for pretty much everything these days, including having a roof over your head. In the evolving world of real estate, landlords are constantly seeking innovative strategies to maximize their returns. Gone are the days when rent was the sole income source for property owners. Today, there’s a burgeoning trend sweeping the rental industry that might just be the next big thing: miscellaneous service charges. From moving-in fees to trash pickup costs, even charging for the use of a mailbox – these added expenses are not only providing additional revenue streams for landlords but also reshaping the tenant-landlord dynamic.

The a new Wall Street Journal article explores the phenomenon of landlords tacking on fees for things that used to be covered with rent. Sure, many landlords have charged extra for parking space or pets. But what about a fee for moving in or out on the day of your choice? 

Mike Vraa, a Minnesota tenant attorney, told the Wall Street Journal that “a lot of this stuff used to just be called ‘rent'” 

Some of the services that landlords are charging cited in the article include a $100 “January Fee” paid every January just because, valet, trash pickup, a mailbox fee, smart home features, and a lease administration fee. 

The article has social media abuzz, with many working in housing and real estate saying that charging fees like airlines might backfire instead of baking it into the total cost of rent. 

“Big landlords say they need some of these fees to ‘cover rising operating costs,’ writes Austin realtor George Dearing on Twitter. “That won’t fly. Build it into the rent and be transparent about it.”

In a world where transparency is touted and consumers are more informed than ever, the real estate realm stands at a crossroads. While innovative income strategies may offer short-term gains for landlords, the true currency of the future might just be trust.

Like baggage fees that have left a sour taste in airline passengers’ mouths, the addition of inconspicuous fees to the rental industry might earn a few extra dollars today but risk eroding the trust of tenants tomorrow. Perhaps it’s time for property moguls to decide: is the fleeting thrill of the nickel-and-dime worth the long-term cost?

B. Carlisle

Contributing editor at Wealth Gang. An entrepreneur at heart, he's passionate about meaningful ways to leverage technology and social media for business opportunities and side hustles.