Renter Library

The rental market can be a daunting landscape for tenants, with numerous costs and fees associated with securing a property. However, in recent years, efforts have been made to alleviate the financial burden on renters. One such initiative is the Tenant Fees Act. A legislation introduced in the United Kingdom in 2019 to regulate the fees charged to tenants. In this blog post, we will delve into the key aspects of the Tenant Fees Act and explore what it means for renters.

What is the Tenant Fees Act?

The Tenant Fees Act was implemented in England on June 1, 2019, with the aim of banning unfair letting fees and protecting tenants from excessive charges. The Act applies to new tenancies, renewal agreements, and tenancy variations entered into on or after this date. It applies to both private and social rented sectors.

Types of Fees that are now Prohibited

Under the Tenant Fees Act, letting agents and landlords are no longer allowed to charge certain fees to tenants. These include:

  1. Tenancy fees: Letting agents can no longer charge tenants for things like referencing, credit checks, inventories, or administrative tasks.
  2. Renewal fees: Agents cannot charge fees for renewing a tenancy or for extending the length of the agreement.
  3. Check-out fees: Charging tenants for professional cleaning or check-out services at the end of the tenancy is no longer allowed.
  4. Third-party fees: Agents cannot require tenants to use specific companies for services such as cleaning or gardening.
Permitted Fees

While most fees are now prohibited, there are a few exceptions. The Tenant Fees Act allows the following fees to be charged:

  1. Rent: Rent payments are still required as per the terms of the tenancy agreement.
  2. Refundable deposits: A tenancy deposit (up to five or six weeks' rent, depending on the annual rent amount) can still be charged, but it must be protected in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme.
  3. Holding deposits: A holding deposit (up to one week's rent) can be requested by the landlord or agent to reserve a property, but it must be returned or put towards the first month's rent or tenancy deposit.
What it means for renters

The Tenant Fees Act has brought about significant changes that benefit renters. It helps to make renting more affordable by reducing upfront costs and ensuring that tenants are not faced with unexpected and excessive fees. Renters can now more accurately budget for the important expenses of moving and renting a property.

How to Protect Your Rights

As a renter, it's essential to be aware of your rights under the Tenant Fees Act. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and ensure compliance:

  1. Read your tenancy agreement: Carefully read the terms of your tenancy agreement to ensure that it adheres to the Tenant Fees Act. If you have any concerns or questions, seek clarification from your landlord or letting agent.
  2. Request an explanation for any fees: If you are asked to pay any fees that seem to contradict the Tenant Fees Act, politely request an explanation and refer to the legislation if necessary.
  3. Keep records: Make sure to keep copies of any correspondence, receipts, or documentation related to fees or payments throughout your tenancy. This can be useful if any disputes arise later on.
  4. Report any violations: If you believe that your landlord or letting agent is in breach of the Tenant Fees Act, you can report it to your local Trading Standards Office or Citizens Advice.

The Tenant Fees Act has had a positive impact on renters in the UK, helping to reduce upfront costs and provide more transparency when it comes to renting a property. By understanding your rights and obligations under this legislation, you can ensure a smoother and fairer renting experience. Remember to familiarise yourself with the prohibited and permitted fees, keep records, and report any violations if necessary. Happy renting!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you require legal assistance or have specific concerns, please consult with a professional.

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