Here is our guide to the new law and how tenants are affected.
WHAT ARE THE NEW TENANCY RULES REGARDING LETTING AGENT FEES?
Since Saturday, 1st June, tenants can no longer be charged letting fees in England on new tenancies, with Wales expected to follow suit in September.
Tenants can now only be charged the following fees when taking out a new tenancy:
- Utilities and council tax if included within the tenancy.
- A refundable deposit capped at five weeks’ rent if your annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent if annual rent is more than this.
- A refundable holding deposit to reserve the property, capped at one week’s rent.
- Changes to the tenancy requested by the tenant, capped at £50 (or “reasonable costs”, backed up by written evidence from the landlord or agent).
- An early termination fee if the tenancy is terminated early at the request of the tenant.
- Defaults by the tenant, such as fines for late rent payments or lost keys. Fines for lost keys must be “reasonable costs”, with evidence given in writing by the landlord or agent (you don’t have to pay the fee until you’ve received this evidence).
WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM LATE PAYING MY RENT?
We always recommend paying rent on time where possible. You should contact your landlord or letting agency at the first available opportunity if you are unable to pay on time.
If you pay more than 2 weeks late, you can be charged a fine under the new rules.
Fines for late rent payments are capped at an annual percentage rate of 3% above the Bank of England base rate (currently 3.75%), calculated based on the number of days the payment has been outstanding. They can be charged once a payment’s been outstanding for 14 days.
I’M ALREADY IN A TENANCY – CAN I STILL BE CHARGED FEES?
The fees ban does not apply to tenancies entered into before 1 June, so if you are already in a tenancy, at the moment fees still apply.
Therefore, if your tenancy includes an agreement to pay further fees – for example, check-out fees or tenancy renewal fees – you will still have to pay these up until 31 May 2020.
WILL I HAVE TO PAY FEES EVEN IF I STAY LONG TERM ON THE SAME AGREEMENT?
After 1 June 2020, any term in an existing tenancy which requires you to pay fees will no longer be binding, so you won’t need to pay them regardless of what your agreement says or when you signed it.
If you renew your tenancy on or after 1 June 2019, any term requiring you to pay fees won’t be binding on the renewed tenancy.
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our lettings team. We’re here to help you find the pad of your dreams and we do all we cannot to provide fair, supportive advice to both tenants and landlords.
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