The Tenant Fees Bill will become law on 1 June 2019 following its third reading in the House of Lords, with a controversial reduction of deposits to five weeks for rents under £50,000 pa included.
Landlords and agents will only be allowed to take rents and deposits from tenants from the start of June, and all new tenancies from that date will also be subject to these new rules. A few, limited fees can still be charged – for damage caused by the tenant, loss of keys and late payment of rent.
The proposed reduction of deposits to five weeks from six had drawn criticism from the industry, with Residential Landlords Association (RLA) policy director David Smith saying landlords would feel “let down” if the move went through.
“We believe these amendments strike a fair balance between improving affordability for tenants whilst ensuring that landlords and agents have the financial security they need,” said the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The RLA list the following as examples of banned fees:
- Charging for a guarantor form
- Credit checks
- Cleaning services
- Professional cleaning
- Having the property de-flead as a condition of allowing pets in the property
- Admin charges
- Requirements to have specific insurance providers
- Gardening services
The new bill was first discussed at the Budget in 2016, and is intended to reduce costs for tenants renting private property in the UK by removing letting agency fees, capping tenancy deposits and making the whole process more transparent.