New law protects tenants from unfair letting fees

Mar 4th 2019

Tenants will be protected from unfair letting fees and will see their tenancy deposits capped at 5 weeks’ rent. The Tenant Fees Act bans unfair letting fees and caps tenancy deposits at 5 weeks’ rent, with ban on fees to take effect from 1 June 2019. The measures are expected to save renters at least £240 million a year – or up to £70 per household.

Unexpected letting fees and high deposits can make properties harder for people to afford and are often not clearly explained upfront – leaving many prospective tenants unaware of the true costs of renting a property.

The Act caps the security deposits that renters pay at the start of their tenancy at 5 weeks’ rent, giving people the assurance that legally they cannot be expected to pay more than this to secure a property.

End to costly fees imposed by some landlords or agents

Under the Act, landlords and agents are only able to recover reasonably incurred costs from tenants and must provide evidence of these costs before they can impose any charges. The Act ensures that tenants who have been charged unfair fees get their money back quickly by reducing the timeframe during which landlords and agents must pay back any fees that they have unlawfully charged.

Taken together, these provisions help reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset, renewal and termination of a tenancy.

The Tenant Fees Act is part of a wider package of government reforms aimed at rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords to deliver a fairer, better quality and more affordable private rental market. Local authorities have a range of powers to crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords and agents who let unfit properties. Read more about the government steps to reform and improve renting.

These measures are all part of ongoing government action to protect tenants and drive up standards in the private rented sector – helping make a housing market that is fairer and works for everyone.

Ensure you use a reputable lettings agent such as Harper Finn, affiliated to the following professional bodies to protect tenants and landlords: ARLA (Association of Residential Lettings Agents), NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents), PRS (Property Redress Scheme), and SAFEagent Scheme (Deposit and rent protection).