Tenant fee changes

Just over 2 weeks on from the coming into force of the Tenant Fees Act 2019 it is worth taking stock on the significant changes that have come into force since the 1st June 2019. The Act bans Landlords or their agents from demanding any payments in respect of qualifying tenancy agreements save for those payments expressly permitted.

A list of legitimate charges is set out in the Act, to include,

• Rent

• Damage deposits

• Holding deposits

• Early termination fees

• Fees for changes to the tenancy

• Utilities fees/TV licence fees/telecommunication costs

This means the end of a whole series of fees that have previously been charged such as credit check fees, administration fees, check out fees and referencing fees. The Act also has the effect of capping tenancy deposits, the vast majority of which will be limited to the equivalent of 5 weeks’ rent.

Breach of the Act is a serious business. Prosecutions or financial penalties can be levied, not to mention that a Landlord is unable to serve a valid notice seeking possession of a property under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 where a prohibited payment has not yet been repaid to a tenant.

It is vital to consider these significant changes carefully for any future tenancy agreements. Beware also that, as with the Deregulation Act 2015, the 2019 Act has a backstop arrangement meaning that from the 1st June 2020 the Act will apply to all tenancy agreements, not just those post-dating the coming into force of the Act.

As with all previously legislation, this Act has the potential to catch out the unwary. Make sure that it isn’t you!

If you would like to discuss your present fees arrangements in light of the Tenant Fees Act 2019 then do get in touch with our Rob Synnott on 01736 362362

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