£30,000 fines for landlords and letting agents who charge tenant fees

The government has finally released details about the tenant fees ban they announced last year, and both landlords and letting agents could find themselves with thousands of pounds in fines.

What is included in the tenant fees ban?

According to the details released at the start of November, almost all fees (other than rent) previously charged to tenants by letting agents and landlords will be banned.

Notably, this includes the cost of referencing and inventory checks, which make up the bulk of fees at the start and end of the tenancy. It also covers third parties, meaning you can’t ask tenants to pay an external referencing company, for example.

What are landlords and letting agents allowed to charge tenants for?

Landlords and letting agents are, of course, still allowed to charge rent, as well as the following three exceptions:

  • Security deposits (capped at 6 weeks’ rent)
  • Holding deposits (capped at 1 week’s rent)
  • Tenant default charges

What are the penalties?

For those who don’t comply with the ban, there are a number of fines you could face - as well as potentially being prosecuted.

The initial fine is £5,000, enforced by Trading Standards, and if you commit another breach within five years you’ll be fined a further £30,000, or potentially be taken to court.

When will the tenant fees ban come into force?

The draft bill will have to be looked at and approved by MPs before it is passed into law, so there is currently no set date for the introduction of the ban. The document states: “The Department for Communities and Local Government will work with the sector to shape the wider regulatory framework and provide more detail on this in due course.”

How will the new ban on fees affect you? Let us know in the comments.

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