It’s now past 1st June when the Tenancy Fee Ban came into place. The Tenant Fees Act is designed to help reduce the up-front costs of tenancy for renters who renew or begin a new tenancy after June 1st 2019. In addition, this Act will also reduce ongoing charges that tenants face during their tenancies as well. It’s a simple “no hidden charges” process.
We break down what you need to know ahead of the changes and what you should look out for following the Tenancy Fee Ban.
What can landlords charge for?
Aside from rent there aren’t a huge number of additional charges they can make. Here are the charges which are not restricted under the Tenancy Fee Ban:
- They can charge a refundable tenancy deposit. This must only be up to 5 or 6 weeks’ rent depending on the total annual rental cost of the property.
- Refundable holding deposit: This is for holding a property for reservation. This cannot be more than 1 weeks’ rent.
- Changes to the tenancy charges but only when requested by you and no more than £50, plus reasonable costs incurred (but these must be justified).
- They can charge for early termination of the tenancy but only when requested to end the tenancy you. This should not exceed the cost of the rent. They should also be seeking to replace you to avoid you paying additional charges to the landlord if they can.
- Payments for Utilities, TV Licence, Council Tax etc. when this is agreed in the tenancy agreement
- Fees for late rent payments. This should be outlined in the tenancy agreement and must only be applied after 14 days or more delay. This fee must also be calculated as interest of no more than 3% above the Bank of England’s base rate on the amount owed per day.
- Replacement keys/security device. Must be reasonable costs and the landlord must provide evidence to show the costs incurred (ie. Receipts).
So, what can’t they charge for?
Put simply, nothing outside of the above list. But, for some clarity, we have outlined below some areas which you should be particularly aware:
- Set Up Fees
- Check out fees
- Professional Cleaning
- Saturday Check Outs
- Third Party Services including credit checks
- Gardening, maintenance or chimney sweeping services
- Guarantor administration fees
In addition, you should be aware that landlords cannot require a tenant to take insurance from a third party and they cannot require a tenant to use a particular third party for any service you/they may require.
What about tenancy agreements already in place before 1st Jun 2019?
Landlords can continue with any charges outlines in the agreement if it was entered into before 1st June 2019 up to 31st May 2020. After this stage, even if renewing a contract, the Tenancy Fee Ban applies also.
What if they make a mistake or charge me a fee?
We know that occasionally landlords make mistakes, and, under the Tenancy Fee Ban, they do have a 28 day grace period during which, should they have charged a fee in error, they can return the payment immediately without incurring treatment under the Act. You should let them know as soon as possible if the fee is prohibited under the act,
We advise that you:
- Keep accurate records of all transactions and interactions between yourself and your landlord where fees or charges may apply. (ie. Receipts, agreements, bank statements, notes and correspondence.)
- Know where to go to find more information and, in the event of a breach of the Act, how to pursue receiving fees back from your landlord. Take a look here
If you are not sure about how the Tenancy Fee Ban applies to you – get in touch here