The Tenant Fee Bill will become law on the 1st June 2019 and aims to eliminate unfair charges for the tenant and make charging for additional services more transparent. It basically means that Lettings agents and landlords will no longer be able to charge mandatory fees or require their tenants to take or use a specific service or insurances.
What fees are being banned?
- Administration charges
- Credit checks
- Charging for guarantors
- Property inventories
- Requirements for tenants to use specific insurance companies
- Renewal or exit fees
What fees can be charges?
- A deposit with a maximum of 5 weeks rent, or 6 weeks if the rent is over £50,000 per year (in keeping with current legislation, deposits need to be kept in a Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP))
- A holding deposit of no more than one weeks rent
- Reasonable charges for lost keys or security fobs
- Reasonable charges for breach of contract including late payment of rent after 14 days (agents will not be able to charge more than 3% over the Bank of England base rate in interest from the date of the late payment)
- A charge of no more than £50 for a change of tenancy, such as adding a new person to the tenancy agreement at a tenants request
To prevent offsetting the loss of fees from higher rent the agents and landlords will not be able to offer different levels of rent, such as lower introductory rent for three months before the price goes up.
Charging for reminder letters is not permitted.
Agents cannot charge an increased deposit or hold a deposit for pets but can charge more rent for a pet. The extra weekly/monthly fee must be clear in the contract.
What are the penalties?
Up to £5,000 for a first offence.
A second offence within 5 years is a criminal offence and liable to an unlimited fine. Alternative fine of up to £30,000 can be levied in place of a criminal charge.
For expert advise on selling or letting your home please get in touch with the best letting agents Whitefield has to offer, and chat with our local and friendly team on 0161 773 1011. Alternatively email us at firstname.lastname@example.org