On 1 June 2019 the ban on tenant fees came into force in England, initially applying to new tenancies (including renewals) entered into after that date and with the ban applying to other existing tenancies from 1 June 2020.
Kathryn Stacey CEO of Citizens Advice Ashfield says ‘This is something that Citizens Advice has been highlighting for a decade and is a welcomed new protection for private renters. In Ashfield we have seen a number of clients with over 1000 housing issues last year, many of them in private rented accommodation. We hope this new legislation will solve some of the issues in that sector but anticipate an upturn in cases whilst the new law takes effect’
Under the new legislation the only payments in connection with a tenancy that can be asked for are:
- The rent
- A refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is less than £50,000 ( or six weeks’ rent where your total annual rent is £50,000 or above)
- A refundable holding deposit capped at no more than one week’s rent
- Payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher
- Payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
- Payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax
- A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement.
A landlord will still retain a right to claim common law damages where they suffer loss as a result of breach of the tenancy agreement, such as if the tenant damages the property. Such damages are likely to be recovered via
the deposit in the first instance, but could give rise to a money claim through the county court.
Crucially, if a prohibited payment or a holding fee is taken a landlord will have to return the prohibited amounts which have been taken or unlawfully retained before being able to serve a valid 21 notice.
Enforcement will be through Trading Standards (by contacting Citizens Advice initially). Tenants can also apply to the First-tier Tribunal to recover unlawfully charged fees.
For more details and advice on Housing matters please contact us 03444 111 444 or drop into our offices Mon-Fri 930am-2pm