If you've tried to rent an apartment anywhere in southern Maine in the last few years then you know the struggle is real. Between rising rental prices and low inventory, the stress of finding an apartment to call home has truly become a rat race. While the City of Portland can't force more apartments to be available at affordable rates, the city is considering eliminating a fee that makes apartment searching more costly.

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Getty Images

According to the Portland Press Herald, the Portland City Council is considering eliminating application fees completely in Portland. For many potential renters searching, in order to turn in your application for an available apartment, you must pay a fee of anywhere between $10-$50 for the landlord to process it. That process often includes credit or background checks, but not always. In a market light on inventory, landlords could receive dozens of applications for a listing, meaning hundreds of dollars in application fees. Eliminating the fees will help potential renters apply for several apartments and not drain their bank account while doing it.

Beyond just application fees being eliminated, the measure would also cap what landlords can charge tenants upfront. Gone will be any inclination by landlords to ask for first and last months rent plus a security deposit. Instead if the ordinance is passed, landlords in Portland would only be allowed to ask for first months rent plus a security deposit. That should help everyone from low income families to young professionals out of college afford to live within the city limits without completely emptying their bank account.

The Portland City Council will vote on the ordinance Wednesday night.


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