At the start of June this year, the Tenants Fess Act was introduced to England. It basically capped the amount that tenants can be charged by landlords and estate agents fees for deposits. Also, the act has banned letting fees to try help reduce hidden costs to renters.
Through bringing in the new act, the Government hopes to save tenants across England around £240 million.
This article intends to look at the new act and how it may affect landlords, tenants and estate agents.
What is the new act?
The new Tenants Fees Act has been designed to stop renters from facing as many charges throughout their renting experience. The act was initially created to stop any type of hidden costs for tenants.
Overall, it has banned fees for private tenants and has capped the security deposits that will need to be paid after five weeks of renting. At a glance, a tenant will be able to see how much the property will cost them before they start a tenancy.
When did the law come into effect?
The new act was originally passed in February 2019. However, the act only came into place at the start of June this year.
Will the new act be brought into different countries in the UK?
In Wales, a law similar to the tenant’s fees act has already been passed. This will come into force within the Autumn. Within Scotland, there is already a banning on letting fees; their act has been in place since 2012.
How will this new act affect estate agents and landlords?
All in all, the act has placed new rules on both landlords and estate agents about the fees they can place on their tenants.
According to the Government website, the landlord is “responsible for paying for that service, helping ensure the fees charged reflect the real economic value of the services provided and sharpen letting agents’ incentive to compete for landlords’ business.“.
Due to the new act, both agents and landlords can only retrieve ‘reasonably incurred costs’ of their tenants. In addition to this, the landlord/agent will need to provide evidence of any costs before charging a tenant.
The act itself stops landlords from overcharging renters for minor damages or giving tenants an exaggerated bill when replacing an item; For example, fitting a new smoke alarm.
If a estate agent or landlord were to ignore the new act, they could face a base fine of around £5000. Landlords and agents who continued to ignore this, could have their fine increased to £30,000 for repeat fines as a result of a criminal offence.
How does the new act affect tenants?
These new changes have started to protect private tenants from unfair and unexpected fees. Furthermore, it has made properties more affordable for renters.
Tenants no longer need to save up more than five weeks rent to be able to secure a property.
Holding deposits have now been capped to one weeks’ rent. The only extra charge is £50 is a tenant changes the tenancy. Although, this only applies if a landlord can prove the process has cost extra.
The amount of time that an agent or landlord takes to pay back fees has also changed. It is no seen as unlawful if an agent/landlord takes over a certain amount of time. This has been set to reduce the amount of time an agent or landlord can take.
According to the Evening Standard, the act is estimated to save up to £70 per household.
For more information, head to the Gov.UK website and look for ‘Tenants Fees Act’
I started writing for PPO back in August 2019. I particularly enjoy writing about new housing developments and upcoming property events.