Maxwell Frost, Gen Z’s elected congressman, refused DC apartment because of bad credit

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Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), the first member of the Gen Z generation elected to Congress, said Thursday that a Washington company rejected his application to rent an apartment because of his poor credit.

Frost declined to identify the building, the size of the debt or the credit rating, but said the building where his application was denied was in the Navy Yard neighborhood, which is 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 in an interview. Before applying, he said, he disclosed “that my credit was bad. I told the guy my whole situation and he said ‘apply, you’ll 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’s really nothing I can do. It’s just a shame. They said you can call and dispute the result but I said I don’t know what I would dispute. I have 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 last week to help Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D) win re-election on Tuesday.

On true Gen. In Z-manner, Frost first aired his housing problems on social media.

“Honestly, I just posted it because I was pretty angry about what had happened,” he told The Washington Post. His message on Twitter quickly generated thousands of responses, including some from Republican critics who Frost argued were hypocritical given former President Donald Trump’s multiple bankruptcies.

The average rent for a studio apartment in Washington is $2,600, compared to $1,646 in Orlando, which is in the district Frost will represent, according to Zillow.com.

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 pretty shocking experience to see what the housing market is like,” Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) told The Post at the time. “It’s just a whole different ball game than anything I’ve ever seen.”

Putnam, who was 26, said he and his wife visited more than a dozen locations 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 about $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 (DN.Y.) has similar concerns. She had worked as a bartender before leaving that job to campaign full-time. In November, at the age of 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 pay before I’m a member of Congress,” she told the New York Times. “So, how do I get an apartment? The little things are very real.”

Frost said he had spoken with Ocasio-Cortez about the housing challenges they were experiencing, which a number of their colleagues in elected office may not have been able to handle.

“Many of the members who come into Congress don’t have these problems when they move because they already have money,” Frost said.

A real estate agent contacted by The Post said December is typically very slow for real estate transactions, which can make it difficult to find available units.

As of Thursday, there were 30 one-bedroom and studio apartments available for rent in the 20003 zip code that generally covers the Navy Yard neighborhood, according to this agent, citing information from the Multiple Listing Service, a database that provides popular housing sites such as . Redfin, although some apartments may be advertised publicly without being listed there.

The median rent in these units was $2,373; the only unit rented in the past 30 days went under contract just after Thanksgiving and had been available for more than a month, this agent said. The rent on that apartment was $1,700.

For now, Frost said, “I’ll probably have to look at individual landlords and mom-and-pop shops as far as apartments go. But I might just do some couch surfing or stay with someone for a while while I’ll figure it out, or AIRBNB.”

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