A ban on letting agents and landlords charging their tenants extortionate fees was extended to all renters from 1st June 2020.
On 1st June 2019, many fees were banned for people taking on new tenancy agreements. This is known as the Tenant Fees Act 2019, and has now been extended to all renters in the UK, giving private renters more rights over agreements for their homes.
Importantly, it will help tenants who would normally face a fee – usually up to hundreds of pounds – to renew their tenancy agreement instead of looking to move home.
The following fees have been banned:
- Fees to view a property,
- For a reference or credit checks,
- Insurance policies,
- Guarantor requests,
- For costs to cover “admin” including things like referencing, credit checks and guarantors,
- Renewal fees for tenancies taken out after June 1 2019,
- Charging for a professional clean, unless they have good reason – and evidence – to,
- Gardening services.
The following fees have been capped:
- Early termination of tenancy – capped at the amount of rent you would have paid until the end of your tenancy.
- Holding fees are now capped at one week’s rent and then must be refunded once you have signed the agreement.
- Contract changes are now capped at £50.
- A deposit can be no more than 5 weeks’ worth of rent.
- Late payments are now capped at 3 per cent more than the Bank of England base rate for every day the payment is late, as long as late payment charges are written into your contract.
Charges can still be incurred for the following:
- A tenancy deposit
- A holding deposit
- Replacing lost keys
- Any changes you request to your contract
- Bills such as water, broadband, TV licence and council tax
- Terminating your contract early
- Late rent payments (after 14 days)
- Cleaning fees in extreme circumstances
Feel you have been wrongly charged?
Feel free to call us or email us if you think you have been overcharged by your landlord, we will be happy to advise you.
Generally, tenants who think they have been wrongly charged, can complain to the relevant redress scheme as all letting agents must belong to a Government-approved redress scheme. Tenants should normally be able to find this information on the agent’s website.
If the landlord or agent refuses to give you the fee back, tenants can contact their local council which has the power to fine a landlord or agent.
The last, tenants could recover the payment directly via the First Tier Tribunal. The First Tier Tribunal can order a landlord or agent to repay a payment which has been charged unlawfully. Tenants will need to submit evidence to support any application they make.
What do we think of this?
It can be really difficult to get on the property ladder in this day and age. Not only in London, but up and down the country house prices are high, and more and more people are having to rent out property instead of buy it for themselves.
We feel that as long as the relationship between landlord and tenant is healthy, and everything is agreed to beforehand with no underhand tactics coming into play later, the situation can be beneficial for everyone.
Especially during the tough times we currently find ourselves in, more protection for renters is something that we can support as a firm.
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