In 2019, there are some big changes coming to the lettings market – in terms of the fees that letting agents and landlords can charge tenants.
Although the Tenant Fees Bill legislation is still in the draft stages, it has now reached the House of Lords, and barring a few potential tweaks, looks set to come into force in April 2019. In this post, we take a look at the upcoming changes to fees, rent, deposits and more, and explore what it means for tenants and landlords in the coming year.
The Tenant Ban – Fee Changes Explained
The Tenant Fees Bill aims to reduce the costs for tenants of renting property, by making some big changes to the fees that landlords and agencies can charge, and amending the deposit and rent system.
As part of the proposed legislation, tenants will no longer have to pay fees as a condition of the ‘grant, continuance, assignment, termination or renewal’ of a tenancy.
These might include:
- Credit check fees
- Referencing fees
- Admin charges
- Tenancy renewals
- Charges for changing tenants
- Charges for early termination
Exemptions from the Tenant Ban
This new legislation doesn’t mean a total end to tenant fees. There are a few fees that agents and landlords can continue to charge:
- Holding deposits
- Charges for defaulting on the contract
In addition, for tenants who have pets, agents will be entitled to charge higher rents to cover the additional wear and tear on the property.
The New Deposit Rules
There have been a few restrictions put on the way agencies and landlords can manage holding deposits and tenancy deposits.
Tenancy deposits will be capped at a maximum of 5 weeks rent.
Holding deposits are set to be capped at a maximum of 1 week’s rent, and this can only be held for a maximum of 15 days before the landlord makes a decision on the tenancy.
If the landlord or agent backs out of the tenancy agreement, the holding deposit must be paid back in full within 7 days of the deadline, or the time when the landlord backs out. If the tenant backs out, fails right to rent checks, has provided false information or is uncooperative and fails to provide the required information within the 15 days, the agent/landlord has the right to keep the deposit.
If the tenancy goes ahead, the holding deposit must either be returned in full, put towards the tenancy deposit, or put towards the first month’s rent.
Permitted Tenant Default Fees
Agents and landlords will also be permitted to charge tenant default fees in the following cases:
- Failure to pay rent
- Breach of Tenancy
- Loss of keys
The fee amounts must be included in the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement, and this information needs to be displayed on the agent’s website (if a property agent is involved).
The Tenant Fees Ban and CJ Property
At CJ Property, we’re committed to looking after our tenants and landlords, and to providing the best possible levels of service and value.
We have known about the Tenant Ban for some time, and have been making appropriate arrangements to ensure our service levels are not impacted.
Whether you’re a tenant looking for a warm and comfortable dream home, or are a property investor/landlord that wants, dependable, honest and value for money professional management – our experienced, locally based team is here to help.
Call 01482 645270 today for further information, or to discuss your requirements with our team today.