A ban is coming into force in June 2019 on excessive fees charged by lettings agents and landlords to tenants.
Proposed in the 2016 budget, the ban is currently causing some anxiety among landlords and tenants are advised to be aware of their rights in this area.
The ban covers excessive ‘administration fees’ charged to prospective tenants, prior to letting, which are non-refundable.
Under the new regulations, the maximum fees a tenant can expect to pay are
- one month’s rent,
- a deposit (likely to be capped at no more than 5 weeks’ rent)
- and a holding fee (likely to be capped at 1 week’s rent).
Agents or landlords will no longer be able to charge tenants an ‘Administration fee’ for credit checks and referencing, check in/out fees, preparation of the inventory, tenancy agreement, deposit protection, contacting the utility companies or for any other service provided. There is some resistance from landlords and lettings agents regarding these changes, as this has been an area in which they have traditionally made a significant portion of their incomes.
The changes will take effect for tenancy agreements signed after the start of June, so it may be worth holding off changing tenancy agreements until June, if you can!
There are a couple of loopholes that tenants might still fall through, where hefty fees could still be levied, eg for lost keys, or late payments. And in addition, it is possible that landlords will respond to the fee cap by raising rents.
For more information, see the Guardian’s article.