Category : Consumer Issues
Friday 07 June 2019
Private renters will no longer have to pay letting agent fees as the Tenant Fees Act comes into force.
Citizens Advice has called for a ban on fees for a decade, and worked with Parliamentarians across the political spectrum to make sure the Bill was as watertight as possible.
This included closing a “default fees” loophole that could have led to landlords and agents charging fees through the backdoor by adding unfair terms to tenancy agreements.
Citizens Advice also urged legislators to reduce the amount of money required for a deposit from six weeks’ rent to four weeks. The final Bill compromised on a deposit worth five weeks’ rent.
The ban means renters cannot be charged fees for looking around a property, setting up a tenancy – such as for referencing or credit checks, or for check-out.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“The end of these uncompetitive and unfair letting fees is a real win for renters.
“The new law means families and other renters don’t have to hand over hundreds of pounds every time they move home.
“We look forward to working with the government to further strengthen the hand of renters in a market where they have little bargaining power.”
Holding deposits are capped at one week’s rent and security deposits are capped at five weeks’ rent, or six weeks if the annual rent is above £50k. Changing the tenancy will normally be capped at £50 or “the reasonable costs”.
In England, more than one in three (37%) households in the private rented sector – or 1.7 million – are families with dependent children.
Private renters in England have been paying £13 million a month in letting fees, which is a total of £234 million, since the government committed to banning them in November 2017.
Citizens Advice helped more than 190,000 people with housing problems in the past 12 months.
More than 57,000 of these were people living in the private rented sector.