Did you know the law for tenant fees has changed? Under the Tenant Fees Act, renters in England are no longer charged letting fees on all new tenancy agreements signed on or after 1st June 2019. There are also caps on the deposits paid by tenants.
Here at Ayers & Cruiks, we welcome the tenant fees ban and its aims of making renting fairer and more affordable for everyone. The new legislation offers renters simplicity and transparency, and ultimately reduces additional costs they may have previously incurred throughout the tenancy.
In fact, it’s been estimated that the Tenancy Act will save renters across England £240 million a year. With this in mind, let’s check our tenant guide to what you can and can’t be charged on new tenancy agreements:
What fees can tenants be charged per tenancy?
- Refundable security deposit to cover damages or defaults on the part of the tenant. For rent under and up to £50,000 a year, this will be charged at 5 weeks’ rent. For rent over £50,000 a year, this will be charged at 6 weeks’ rent.
- Refundable holding deposit of 1 weeks’ rent to reserve your property.
- Fees on unpaid rent. If your rent is overdue by 14 days or more, you will be charged interest at 3% above the Bank of England base rate from the date the rent was due to the date of payment.
- Lost keys or security device. If you lose either, you will be charged a reasonable cost to repair or source a new key and/or lock – whatever is needed to restore security.
- Changes to a tenancy. You will be charged £50 including VAT should you need to make a change to the Tenancy Agreement, such as a change of name.
- Early termination fee. Should you wish to end your tenancy before the contract has ended, you will be liable to the landlord’s costs in re-letting the property, including rent due until the start of the new tenancy.
Find out more information on our Tenant Fees Schedule, effective 1st June 2019.
What fees can’t tenants be charged?
Since 1st June 2019, tenants can no longer be charged the following fees at the start of, during, or at the end of a tenancy:
- Viewing fees
- Set-up fees
- Reference checking fees
- Credit checks
- Rent guarantor fees
- Gardening fees
- Check-out fees
- End of tenancy cleaning fees
What if you’re already a tenant?
If you’re already renting, then you can still be charged tenant fees, including renewing your tenancy agreement or checking out. However, these fees can only be charged until 31st May 2020.
Please check with our team if you’re unsure on whether this applies to you.
What do landlords need to know about the tenant fees ban?
It’s crucial that both tenants and landlords familiarise themselves with the new Tenant Fee Act and what happens if you don’t comply with the new legislation.
The ban on tenant fees is enforced by your local Trading Standards authority. If you don’t comply with the new rules, you could receive a fine of up to £5,000. If you breach the legislation again within 5 years of your first offence, you could receive an unlimited fine or even prosecution, as it will be considered a criminal offence under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
Need tenant fee ban advice?
Please speak to a member of the Ayers & Cruiks team if you have any questions about our fees. Call us on 01702 343060 or contact us on our website.