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Housing

NEW - Housing Law Changes

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 bans certain fees charged to tenants by landlords, letting agents and student accommodation providers. Examples of fees that are banned are:

  • Inventory fees
  • Referencing fees
  • Additional charges for having a guarantor
  • Admin fees
  • Fees for drawing up a contract
  • Credit check fees

New tenancies from 01 June 2019 – These fees are banned.

Existing tenancies prior to 01 June 2019 - These fees can be charged. Once you renew an existing tenancy, the ban will apply for the new fixed term or from 01 June 2020 – whichever is sooner.

What fees are not banned?

Holding deposit, damage deposit and upfront rent when starting a new tenancy, are still permissible. However, from 01 June 2019, holding deposits are limited to 1 week's rent, and damage deposits limited to 5 weeks' rent.

Are there any other charges that I must pay in a new tenancy?

The landlord or agent can charge you a reasonable amount for lost keys, however they must provide evidence. If you are more than 14 days behind on your rent, you can be charged interest limited to 3% above the Bank of England base rate. If you wish to assign your tenancy (transfer it to another person) Government guidance suggests a fee of £50, however, the landlord can charge more if they have evidence of their costs. If you wish to end your tenancy earlier than your fixed term, the landlord can only charge for reasonable costs incurred (for example, advertising costs, rent until they find a new tenant)

What costs can be deducted from my deposit?

Charges related to being in breach of your tenancy are deducted from your deposit when the tenancy ends. At that point you are able to dispute such charges. If the landlord seeks costs from you prior to the end of the tenancy, they will have to take you to court. 

I paid a deposit of 6 weeks rent. Will I get a refund when I renew my tenancy?

If you renew your tenancy, or on 01 June 2020 any deposit money you have paid that exceeds 5 weeks' rent must be refunded. For example, if you paid £600 deposit and your rent is £100 a week, your landlord or agent must refund £100.

Do I still have to pay the check out or inventory fee if it’s stated in my contract?

If you leave your tenancy before 01 June 2020 you will have to pay this fee.

Can the landlord increase the rent for the first few months of the tenancy to cover lost fees?

Landlords cannot do this, however, they can set the rent at a higher rate for the whole period of the tenancy. It will be up to the tenant to search the market for the best value tenancy

 

I signed a contract prior to 01 June 2019 but my tenancy starts after 01 June. Can I get a refund?

You cannot be refunded for any fees paid before 01 June, even if you haven't signed yet, and even if your tenancy starts after 01 June. If you've signed an agreement before 01 June, even if the tenancy starts later, none of the bans apply until you renew, or until 01 June 2020. If the contract signed before the 01 June states that you have to pay a renewal fee, you still have to pay this fee if you renew before 01 June 2020. However, the landlord won't be able to include further fees, renewal or otherwise in a future renewal agreement. 

Do let us know about your experiences of finding accommodation either directly through landlords, student accommodation provider or letting agent and whether you have concerns about any fees charged. The Money & Housing Team are available for face to face Drop-in sessions and operate an AdviceLine.

 

 

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