Maxwell Frost, Newly Elected Congressman, Denied DC Apartment Over Bad Credit Score

From a Washington Post story by Azi Paybarah headlined “Maxwell Frost, future Gen Z congressman, denied D.C. apartment over bad credit score”:

Congressman-elect Maxwell Frost, the first member of the Gen Z generation elected to Congress, said Thursday that a company in Washington rejected his application to rent an apartment because of his bad credit score.

Frost declined to identify the building, the size of debt or credit score, but said the building where his application was rejected was in the Navy Yard neighborhood, just over a mile from the U.S. Capitol.

“I was excited because I had finally found a place that made sense for me, that was in my price range,” Frost said. Before applying, he said he disclosed “that my credit was bad. I told the guy my whole situation and he said ‘Apply, you’re going to be fine.’ ”

Frost said he paid a $50 application fee and submitted his information. After the rejection — and the loss of the fee — Frost said he was “told there really is nothing I can do. It’s just unfortunate. They said you can call and dispute the result, but I said I don’t know what I’d be disputing. I have a bad credit — I admit it.”

Frost, 25, famously drove an Uber to pay his bills while campaigning full time in his central Florida district. He has quickly become a potent force within the Democratic Party, hitting the campaign trail in neighboring Georgia this past week to help Sen. Raphael G. Warnock win his runoff election on Tuesday.

In true Gen. Z fashion, Frost first aired his housing woes on social media.

“Honestly I just posted it because I was pretty angry about what had happened,” he said. His message on Twitter quickly generated thousands of responses, including some from Republican critics that Frost argued were hypocritical, considering former president Donald Trump’s multiple bankruptcies.

The median rent for a studio apartment in Washington is $2,600, compared with $1,646 in Orlando, which is in the district Frost will represent.

Lawmakers struggling to find housing in the nation’s capital is a story as old as the congressman-elect.

In 2000, another young, newly elected House member from Florida was shocked to find a tight and expensive housing market in the nation’s capital. “It’s been a rather shocking experience, to see what the housing market is like,” Adam H. Putnam (R-Fla.) said at the time. “It’s just a totally different ballgame from anything I’ve ever seen.”

Putnam, who was 26, said he and his wife visited more than a dozen places during freshman orientation, and understood why some lawmakers had chosen to sleep in their offices. Another new member of the House at the time, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), said she found a large one-bedroom near the Library of Congress for around $1,500 a month. She said it was “a lot; my house payment in Minnesota is less than that.”

In 2018, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voiced similar concerns. She had worked as a bartender before leaving that job to campaign full time. In November, at age 29, she was the youngest woman elected to the House, but she would not start collecting a salary until the following January.

“I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress,” she said. “So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.”

Frost said he had spoken with Ocasio-Cortez about the housing challenges they experienced, which a number of their colleagues in elected office might not have gone though.

For now, Frost said, “I’m probably going to have to look at individual landlords, and mom-and-pop kind of shops as far as apartments are concerned. But also, I just might need to do some couch surfing or staying with somebody a little while I figure it out, or AIRBNB.”

Azi Paybarah joined The Washington Post in 2022. He previously covered politics for the New York Times, Politico New York and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow in 2017.

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