PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — If you’ve applied for an apartment recently, you may have become frustrated with fees getting added on top of the price of rent. Whether it’s an application fee, screening fee, trash, or amenities fee (and the list can go on) renting an apartment can get expensive.

That’s why one Pennsylvania state senator is proposing a renters protection package, a group of bills intended to reduce costs for current and prospective tenants.

The package includes three bills introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate by Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks). The bills include the following: SB 858, SB 860, and SB 861.

“Pennsylvania’s renters deserve to have someone looking out for them,” Schwank said. “We are facing a long list of issues when it comes to affordable housing, and renters especially have watched prices rise and eat into more and more of their earnings. For many, securing a safe, affordable place to call home becomes more difficult with each passing day. These bills will not fix all the issues renters face. However, they will provide a layer of badly needed protection.” 

The first bill, SB 858, would establish criteria for the voluntary acceptance by landlords of reusable tenant screening reports (RSTRS).

According to Avail, tenant screening fees can cost anywhere from $25 to $75. In competitive rental markets, prospective tenants may have to dish out this money several times as they apply to more than one apartment.

In addition to screening fees, there are also application fees. SB 860 would cap the cost of these application fees to $25.

SB 860 was introduced with co-sponsor Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and is the companion to HB 366, which was introduced by Rep. MaryLouise Isaacson (D-Philadelphia) and proposes a $20 cap.

SB 861 would cap the amount of yearly land rent increases that can be imposed on residents of manufactured home communities in Pennsylvania.

This bill includes homes that are typically built in halves at a factory and then assembled on-site. In many cases, residents own these home but not the land it resides on.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has also stated its support for the three bills.

“In Pennsylvania, housing inequalities exist in every borough, township, city, and county,” Adrian Garcia, PHRC Director of Fair Housing and Commercial Property, said. “As rent and monthly fees continue to rise, many who are on fixed incomes, which typically include seniors and individuals with disabilities, are forced to decide between paying their rent or paying for necessities. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission applauds Sen. Schwank for introducing these bills to protect renters in Pennsylvania. These bills are a step in the right direction to ensure everyone has access to safe and affordable housing.”