New law protecting tenants from unfair letting fees Image by Lucian Milasan AdobeStock_35807954_Preview

Tenancy deposits are capped to 5 weeks’ rent

Unexpected letting fees and high deposits can make properties harder for people to afford. In cases these are not clearly explained upfront. This has meant that many prospective tenants were unaware of the true costs of renting a property.

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 puts an end to costly fees imposed by landlords or agents. The ban on fees to come into effect from 1 June. It is expected to save tenants across England at least £240 million a year, or up to £70 per household.

The Act also 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.

James Brokenshire heralds new law protecting tenants from unfair letting fees Image:Open Government Licence v3.0

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:

“Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs from agents or landlords.
This Act not only delivers on our promise to ban letting fees but also caps deposits at 5 weeks’ rent and sets out how and when landlords can charge tenants fees – helping renters keep more of their hard-earned cash.”

Landlords will only be able to recover reasonably incurred costs

Under the Act, landlords and agents are only able to recover reasonably incurred costs from tenants. They must provide evidence of these costs before they can impose any charges.

This will put a stop to, for example, tenants being charged hundreds of pounds for a damaged item that actually only costs a few pounds to replace – such as £60 to replace smoke alarms.

The Act also 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.