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

“By requiring landlords to also accept cash or check, we help save Illinoisans from unnecessary transaction fees on their rental payments,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Some leases require 2-3% of rent to cover processing fees which adds a lot to an already high rent, so it is vital we ensure that we save residents money in any capacity we can.”

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.

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.

"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."

House Bill 4206 passed the Senate on Wednesday and awaits further action.