Landlords can charge fees to tenants on signing or move out, such as pet deposits and fees to make additional keys. Landlords typically have wide latitude to charge most fees to tenants in most areas. For example, Los Angeles allows landlords of rent-controlled buildings to pass on certain rent control fees to the tenant. See state and local laws for more details.

Discriminatory Charges

A major exception to a landlord’s wide latitude to charge fees is discrimination. Under the Fair Housing Act, a landlord cannot discriminate against skin color, mental or physical disability, familial status (having children under 18 in a household, including pregnant women), national origin, race, religion, or sex. For example, landlords cannot charge extra fees to only tenants with children or to tenants with service animals. Similarly, offering discounts or fee favors can be discriminatory. For example, waiving a fee for only Jewish people is a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

There are a few exceptions for smaller buildings. Buildings with less than five units where the owner lives in the building and single-family homes which was rented without a broker are exempt. Those buildings are permitted by federal law to discriminate based on the above categories, including charging different fees.

Some state laws extend out the seven protected classes above to other areas, like marital status, immigration status, and age.