Tenant Fees Bill becomes law
By Alex Timperley, 13 February 2019
The Tenant Fees Bill, new legislation to prevent landlords and agents from charging renters various fees for moving, has officially become law and will come into force on 1st June 2019.
From that date onward, any tenant either renewing a tenancy or setting up a new one in the Private Rented Sector will not incur separate fees on top of rent and deposit payments – the latter of which is also being cut.
Under the terms of the new Act, a landlord can be charged a first-time fee of £5,000 for breaking the new rules. The government has introduced these fines in order to discourage bad-actor landlords and make renting more affordable. In addition, the new rules should theoretically make the rental sector more transparent and competitive.
The need to make the rental sector more amenable to tenants grows every year and more and more people are choosing to rent for the long term. The more people rent, the more important a political constituency they become, and the more likely any government is to introduce further measures to improve their lot in life.
David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark, said of the changes: “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.”
Communities secretary, James Brokenshire MP, 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.
“Under the Act, landlords and agents are only able to recover reasonably incurred costs from tenants and must provide evidence of these costs before they can impose any charges.
“This will put a stop to, for example, tenants being charged hundreds of pounds for a damaged item that actually only costs a few pounds to replace – such as £60 to replace smoke alarms.
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