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Housing and Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, said: “Tenants across the country should not b

Tenant Fees bill becomes law

By Maurice Shasha  //  Wed 20th February 2019
Housing and Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, said: “Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs from agents or landlords.

The Tenant Fees bill has been given Royal Assent, meaning the new act will come into force on 1 June 2019

The act prevents landlords and letting agents from charging their tenants administrative and credit check fees. It also caps security deposits at the equivalent of five weeks’ rent and holding deposits, to secure a property, at one week’s rent.

An exception is properties where the rent is more than £50,000 a year. Here, deposits will be capped at six weeks’ rent. Fees for making changes to a tenancy agreement have also been capped at £50.

Default fees, which are written into a contract to recover costs due to the actions of a tenant, have not been banned, but their use has been restricted. Such fees can now only be charged to cover the cost of a new key, where the original has been lost, and where rent is more than 14 days late.

The government has pledged to publish guidance on the act for tenants, landlords and letting agents later this spring.

According to the government, the aim of the act is to make renting more affordable for tenants while improving transparency and competition in the lettings market.

Housing and Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, said: “Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs from agents or landlords.

“This act not only delivers on our promise to ban letting fees but also caps deposits at five weeks’ rent and sets out how and when landlords can charge tenants fees – helping renters keep more of their hard-earned cash.

“This is part of our ongoing action to make renting fairer and more transparent and make a housing market that works for everyone.”

David Cox, chief executive of the professional body for letting agents, ARLA Propertymark, said: “We’ve known the tenant fees ban has been coming for a long time, but with only 109 days to go until it comes into force, the industry must start taking time to prepare.

“The government will soon publish its guidance now that we have legislative certainty, which will give agents a better understanding as to how the ban should practically be implemented.”

We will be attending an additional ARLA presentation next week on the matter, with further updates to come.

Read more about this story in Landlord Today and the Evening Standard Homes & Property

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