Tenant Fees Bill introduced
- TENANT FEE BAN – WHAT IT WILL PROBABLY MEANSecurity deposits must not exceed the equivalent of six weeks’ rent
- Holding deposits will be capped at no more than one week’s rent
- Change of sharer charges will be capped at £50 unless the landlord demonstrates that greater costs were incurred
Other than the rent itself or deposits, the only other things agents and landlords will be able to charge tenants for are:
- a change or early termination of a tenancy when requested by the tenant
- utilities, communication services and Council Tax
- payments arising from a default by the tenant such as replacing lost key
The new measures are subject to Parliamentary timetables and will be introduced in law next year
- Trading Standards will enforce the ban and tenants will be able to recover unlawfully charged fees via the First-tier Tribunal
- A lead enforcement authority in the lettings sector will be appointed
- The Consumer Rights Act 2015 will be amended to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements should apply to property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla
|David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark commented on the announcement:
“The day we have been expecting since the Chancellor announced the ban on tenant fees in the Autumn Statement 2016 has arrived, with the Tenant Fees Bill beginning its passage through Parliament this afternoon.
“We do not believe the Bill will achieve its aims, as our own research last year demonstrated that tenants will end up worse off and banning fees will not result in a more affordable private rented sector.
“ARLA Propertymark has worked hard over the last 18 months to explain the unintended consequences of the ban to Government, and we’re pleased they have listened and allowed Change of Sharer, Surrender of Tenancy, holding deposits, exempted the Green Deal Charge, and capped security deposits at six weeks, rather than the Committee’s proposed five-week cap. Now that we have greater clarity on what the ban will entail, agents must start preparing for when it comes into force.