VenturaSPRINGFIELD To protect renters from additional rental payment transaction fees, State Senator Rachel Ventura advanced legislation that would require landlords to be more flexible with payment options.

“As rent costs have skyrocketed across the country, residents are struggling to make ends meet and these transaction fees imposed on them by their landlord can add up quickly,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Some leases require 2-3% of rent to cover processing fees which adds a lot to an already high rent. By requiring landlords to also accept cash or check we help save Illinoisans from this unnecessary cost.”

House Bill 4206 would require landlords to allow tenants to make rental payments by delivering a paper check or cash to the landlord or their business office if the landlord uses a third-party payment portal to collect rent and has a transactional fee or other charge imposed through the portal on the rental payments.

Transactional fees on rent payments can vary depending on the total rent payment and the service a landlord uses. For example, if a tenant is paying $1,000 a month on rent and is required by the landlord to use a credit or debit card, the processing fee could be around 2-3%, making it an additional $20-30 per month.

"No one should be forced to put up with processing and convenience fees when paying rent," said State Representative Hoan Huynh (D-Chicago). "When online payment portals are the only avenue available for paying rent, low-income residents and seniors are disproportionately impacted as they spend a greater share of their livelihoods on the associated fees."

According to the U.S. Census, renter-occupied households historically have lower household incomes than owner-occupied households and may be more affected by changes in household income and rental prices. Renter-occupied households made up 52.9% of households in the lowest income quintile and 42.4% of households in the second lowest income quintile.

House Bill 4206 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and heads to the full Senate for further consideration.