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First Gen Z Congressperson Maxwell Frost struggles to rent in D.C.

Voters in Florida’s 10th congressional district elected 25-year-old Maxwell Frost to the U.S. House of Representatives in November, making him the first member of Gen Z elected to Congress.

But a month before he’s set to be sworn in, he’s struggling to find housing in the nation’s notoriously expensive capital.

In a series of tweets posted Thursday, Frost says he was up front with his prospective landlord about his “really bad” credit. Though the landlord said it shouldn’t be an issue, Frost says his application was declined.

“This ain’t meant for people who don’t already have money,” read one tweet.

Frost says he ran up a lot of debt during his campaign after quitting his job to commit his time to the election, which hurt his credit. Frost’s office did not immediately return CNBC Make It’s request for comment.

Median rent in Washington, D.C. is around $2,600 as of December, according to Zillow. 

While his congressional salary will pay him $174,000 annually, that new income won’t automatically fix Frost’s credit score, which landlords often use to approve or deny new tenants. 

Soon to be 26, Frost is on the older end of Gen Z, but his rental dilemma already demonstrates his relatability to his young constituents. Nearly 1 in 3 members of Gen Z currently live at home with parents or other relatives, according to a Credit Karma study from earlier this year.

With rent prices up an average of 10% nationally this year, it’s not surprising the youngest adult generation is struggling to move out. And among Gen Zers who’ve been able to, 32% are spending half their monthly income on housing, Credit Karma found.

Back in 2018, Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) made headlines for confessing that she would struggle to move to D.C. before her new salary kicked in.

“I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real,” she told the New York Times at the time.

Ocasio-Cortez remains the youngest woman in Congress, but Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) replaced her as the youngest member during his tenure. Cawthorn will maintain the title of youngest person elected to Congress, but Frost will become the youngest sitting member when he’s sworn in in January.

Frost made housing affordability one of the key issues of his campaign, aiming to help institute national tenant protections and increase funding for public housing. There is currently no federal limit on rental application fees, but D.C. enforces a $50 maximum.

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