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Tenant Fees Act 2019 – a consumer guide

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In light of the recent implementation of the tenant fee ban, we have put together a brief guide to what tenants should be aware of, and how the ban affects them.

 The Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on the 1st June 2019. From that date it is illegal for letting agents to charge fees to tenants, apart from a small number of exemptions, that are referred to as ‘permitted payments’.

Permitted payments are:

  • Rent
  • Utilities and Council Tax
  • Security Deposits
  • Holding Deposits
  • Default Fees
  • Fees for changing a tenant, or ending a tenancy early

 

Holding Deposit

This is to reserve a property, and is capped at one week’s rent. Please note, this will be withheld if any relevant person (including any guarantors) withdraw from the tenancy, fail a right-to-rent check, provide materially significant false or misleading information, or fail to sign their tenancy agreements or deed of guarantee within fifteen calendar days (or other deadline where previously mutually agreed).

 

Security Deposit

This is capped at five weeks rent, although it is likely most Landlords will continue with the traditional month’s rent as deposit basis.

 

Unpaid Rent

Interest will be due at 3% above the Bank of England’s base rate from the rent due date until paid. This will not be levied until the rent is more than 14 days in arrears.

 

Lost Keys/Security Devices

Tenants are liable for the actual cost of replacing any lost keys or security devices. If the loss results in locks needing to be changed, the actual costs of a locksmith, new lock and replacement keys for the tenant, landlord and any other persons requiring keys will be charged to the tenant. If extra costs are incurred there will be a charge of £15 per hour (inc VAT) for the time taken to replace the keys or other security device.

 

Variation of Contract

£50 (inc VAT) per agreed variation. To cover the costs associated with taking landlord’s instructions as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.

 

Early Termination (at tenant’s request)

Should the tenant wish to leave their contract early, they shall be liable to the landlord’s costs in re-letting the property as well as all rent due under the tenancy until the start date of the replacement tenancy. These costs will be no more than the maximum amount of rent outstanding on the tenancy.

 

Existing Tenancies

The new rules apply to all tenancies starting on or after the 1st June 2019. Pre-exisiting tenancies will come under the new legislation from the 1st June 2020.