· The Tenant Fees Act bans letting agents from charging letting fees and caps tenancy deposits paid by tenants in the private rented sector in England.
· This ban on tenant fees came into force for new or renewed tenancy agreements entered into on or after 1 June 2019.
· The aim of the Act is to reduce hidden costs for tenants from the outset of their tenancy.
· Any breach of the act will incur a penalty of up to £5,000.
· The act provided a 12 month transition period for tenancies which started before June 2019. This period ended on 31 May 2020.
· Any tenancy clauses in existing contracts that charge fees, have been made unenforceable since this date.
· The transition period allowed fees written into existing contracts to continue to be charged, however from the end of the transition period, from 1 June 2020, the ban will apply to all
· It is important to note that agents have 28 days to refund check-out fees to any tenants on existing contracts which involved paying check-out fees up front, as these fees became Prohibited Payments as of 1 June 2020.
· The Act also set a cap for how much can be charged for a security deposit on a tenancy. The refundable tenancy deposit can be no more than 5 weeks rent where the total rent is less than £50,000 or 6 weeks rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above.
· The Agents do not need to immediately refund any part of an existing Tenancy Deposit that exceeds this cap, unless the tenant renews their tenancy by signing a new Fixed Term agreement on or after 1 June 2019.
· It should also be noted that a Section 21 notice cannot be issued in relation to a tenancy until such time as any Prohibited Payments or Holding Deposits have been refunded.
If there is any information you wish to discuss further, please contact Dee Puckering or one of our partners.
This article is prepared with the intention of providing general information on the changes in law. Philip Ross Solicitors accept no responsibility for errors it may contain and the coverage of the topic is not comprehensive. You are advised to speak directly to the writer or another partner within this firm with any specific enquiries on the topic addressed.
Dee specialises in dispute resolution including debt recovery. She also deals with possession work in landlord and tenant, consumer credit and mortgage lending. Dee acts for both private and commercial clients including High Street banks and specialist lenders.