Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    27

    Default Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of:
    1. Austin, Texas

    Hopefully, someone who knows real estate law in Austin, TX can help with this. HUD prohibits discrimination against parents with children being charged extra rent for having a child if I am not mistaken and I could have that wrong. However, I just read that Austin has protections for married couples as tenants. Can a landlord increase the rent on a one-bedroom apartment because a married couple is renting the apartment as opposed to a single person renting the apartment?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,068

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    Quote Quoting Jean5720
    View Post
    Can a landlord increase the rent on a one-bedroom apartment because a married couple is renting the apartment as opposed to a single person renting the apartment?
    As asked, the only answer that can be given is "yes."

    That may change if you provide details about how it is happening to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    As asked, the only answer that can be given is "yes."

    That may change if you provide details about how it is happening to you.
    I should have worded this differently. Instead of increasing the "rent" the landlord is charging a "fee" for the second person. So in the lease, rent for a one-bedroom apartment is for argument's sake $1000 per month. If you have more than one person, an occupancy fee is then supposed to be paid monthly. The lease only states an occupancy fee of $150.00 not a monthly occupancy fee, just an occupancy fee of $150. It does not state what the occupancy fee is for. It does not say if it is a one time fee or monthly. I am trying to figure out why a landlord would write a lease this way instead of just making the rent $1150.00 in the lease. Why an occupancy fee? If the second person only spends a few months a year in the apartment is the occupancy fee only due when the second person is in the apartment? Austin is supposed to have some tighter protections for married tenants and I am trying to figure out what that means and why someone would want to write a lease this way. Both husband and wife are on the lease. The leasing office is calling the occupancy fee monthly rent, but that is not what the lease says. Legally, what is the difference between a fee and rent?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,068

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    Quote Quoting Jean5720
    View Post
    I should have worded this differently. Instead of increasing the "rent" the landlord is charging a "fee" for the second person. So in the lease, rent for a one-bedroom apartment is for argument's sake $1000 per month. If you have more than one person, an occupancy fee is then supposed to be paid monthly.
    While it's true that Fair Housing Laws prohibit discriminating against families with children, charging extra based on the number of people (young or old) is not discrimination.

    Saying "You're married, you pay $1150" or "You're single, you pay $1000" would certainly be illegal under Austin's Housing Ordinance. An occupancy fee treats everybody equally regardless of marital status.

    Quote Quoting Jean5720
    View Post
    Austin is supposed to have some tighter protections for married tenants
    Not really. It just adds married people as a protected class.

    The key sections of the Housing Ordinance are 5-1-51 (A) and (B):

    (A) A person may not refuse to sell or rent a dwelling to a person who has made a bona fide offer; refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of a dwelling; or otherwise make unavailable or deny to a dwelling to any person based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, familial status, disability, marital status, student status, creed, national origin, or source of income.

    (B) A person may not discriminate against a person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in providing services or facilities in connection with the sale or rental, based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, familial status, disability, marital status, student status, creed, national origin, or source of income.
    The occupancy fee is not based on any of those protected classes, it's based on the number of people (young or old) living in the apartment who may contribute to wear and tear or maintenance costs. Two unmarried, unrelated people would be charged the same fee as a married couple. A married couple with 3 children would be charged the same as 5 people of any type.

    Here's a link to the Housing Ordinance:

    https://library.municode.com/tx/aust...CIRI_CH5-1HODI

    If you have trouble with that link, go to this one:

    https://www.austintexas.gov/departme...discrimination

    And scroll down to Fair Housing Ordinance and click on the link provided.

    Quote Quoting Jean5720
    View Post
    The lease only states an occupancy fee of $150.00 not a monthly occupancy fee, just an occupancy fee of $150. It does not state what the occupancy fee is for.
    Well, it kinda does. It's an occupancy fee. That's what it's for, occupancy.

    Quote Quoting Jean5720
    View Post
    It does not say if it is a one time fee or monthly. The leasing office is calling the occupancy fee monthly rent, but that is not what the lease says.
    To address that issue I would have to see the lease.

    Quote Quoting Jean5720
    View Post
    Legally, what is the difference between a fee and rent?
    A fee is generally a one time thing. Like a pet fee is paid at the beginning of the tenancy while pet rent is monthly.

    Quote Quoting Jean5720
    View Post
    If the second person only spends a few months a year in the apartment is the occupancy fee only due when the second person is in the apartment? Both husband and wife are on the lease.
    If it's a one time fee and both people are on the lease, then it's paid up front regardless of how much time the second person spends in the apartment.

    If you want to make an issue about whether it's a one time fee or monthly rent you can file a complaint with the Austin Fair Housing Department.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,625

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    There isn't anything wrong with a landlord charging an occupancy fee. Unless the second person isn't going to take a shower or use the bathroom.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    There isn't anything wrong with a landlord charging an occupancy fee. Unless the second person isn't going to take a shower or use the bathroom.
    If I understand the previous very helpful answers, charging a one-time occupancy fee is not a problem and I agree. However, the landlord is charging an occupancy fee monthly as rent which is a violation of the Austin Fair Housing statutes. As previously stated, a fee is a one time charge. An occupancy fee charged monthly is increased rent and that is wrong per Austin Fair Housing regulations.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,625

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    Quote Quoting Jean5720
    View Post
    If I understand the previous very helpful answers, charging a one-time occupancy fee is not a problem and I agree. However, the landlord is charging an occupancy fee monthly as rent which is a violation of the Austin Fair Housing statutes. As previously stated, a fee is a one time charge. An occupancy fee charged monthly is increased rent and that is wrong per Austin Fair Housing regulations.
    But that rent may include water which may only be calculated for one person into the rent of $1,000. Another person is going to use more water increasing the landlords utility bill per month. And that's not to say if heat and or electric is included in the rent.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    But that rent may include water which may only be calculated for one person into the rent of $1,000. Another person is going to use more water increasing the landlords utility bill per month. And that's not to say if heat and or electric is included in the rent.
    I understand the landlord's cost. However, if I understand this situation legally if you charge a single person $1000.00 per month for a one-bedroom apartment under the Austin Fair Housing Act you cannot charge a married couple $1150.00 for rent for the same apartment. That is what this landlord is doing. By adding a monthly "occupancy" fee which is essentially increasing the monthly rent without calling it rent the landlord is trying to circumvent violating the Fair Housing Act by calling the increased rent an occupancy fee. The occupancy fee on the lease is only written as a fee, not a monthly fee, just a fee, like you, would pay a $250 pet fee once and then pet rent every month. Essentially, the landlord is charging "spouse" rent, not a one-time occupancy fee. Additional rent for a spouse, I believe, is illegal in Austin. Legal probably in other locals, but not under the Austin Fair Housing Act. In the lease, the occupancy fee is listed in the section under fees, like a fee to obtain a duplicate key or a replacement garage door opener. When the rent bill comes the occupancy fee is added to monthly rent and in this example is billed at $1150.00 per month rent. Not the $1000 rent for a single person. If the landlord can legally charge more for a second person, why not just increase the rent and not play this game with an occupancy fee which is not a one time fee. I believe the reply discussing the Austin Fair Housing got to the root of the matter. I can understand charging more for 2 people if utilities are included in the rent, but the Austin Fair Housing Act would make that difficult when the folks are married and you charge a single person less in rent.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,152

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    The LL isn't charging more for rent for married renters. He is charging more for 2 renters which is legal.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Landlord Charging Extra Person Fee to Married Couple in One Bdrm Apartment

    Then why is the LL even messing with an occupancy fee? Why isn't the LL making a rent schedule based on the number of renters? One person in the apartment is $1000. Two people $1150. Why have a base rent plus an occupancy fee?

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Giving Notice: Landlord is Charging an Extra Month's Rent for Failure to Give 60 Days Notice
    By sabres061 in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-08-2013, 10:43 AM
  2. Rent and Utilities: Landlord is Charging Me Extra Money for Additional Residents
    By Summerbaby in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-26-2013, 08:04 PM
  3. Service Providers: Wedding Photographer is Charging Extra for the Photo Files
    By smalls78 in forum Consumer Law
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-23-2012, 09:13 PM
  4. Parking and Access: Landlord Allowing and Charging Concert-Goers to Park in Apartment's Yard
    By DerekWhite68 in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-28-2011, 05:53 PM
  5. Roommates: Extra Charge Per Month for Extra Person
    By zumwald in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-17-2011, 05:35 PM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources