In June 2019 the law on what letting agents and landlords are allowed to charge their tenants changed.
Many people in the South West rent their home and those who move regularly are at risk of being caught out by potentially costly fees which have now been banned.
If you’re renting in the South West, we want you to be aware of these changes, and in particular, what charges are no longer allowed, and how you can report any concerns.
I’m a student – does this apply to me?
Yes, these changes apply to student lets too. Read Trading Standards South West’s student guide to the Tenant Fees Act to help you avoid being caught out by banned tenancy fees.
What are the changes?
Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, a landlord or a letting agent can no longer ask you, or someone acting on your behalf, to make certain payments in connection with a tenancy or enter into a contract for certain services or insurance. They can also not require you take out a loan that relates to the tenancy, for example to cover your deposit.
What charges are no longer allowed?
Here are some common examples of services that you can’t be charged for anymore:
- Professional cleaning.
- Drawing up contracts.
- Additional payments for pets (commonly referred to as ‘pet rent’).
- Administration fees including application fees, credit checks and check-out fees.
There is also a cap on the amount of money that can be taken for deposits and holding deposits.
What charges are still allowed?
As part of these changes there are only a small number of payments that you can be charged for, including:
- A refundable tenancy deposit (capped at five weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above).
- A refundable holding deposit of no more than one week’s rent.
- A reasonable payment in the event of your default, such as the loss of a key or other security device that gives access to the rented property or failure to pay your rent on time.
- Payments to change the tenancy (capped at £50 or the reasonable costs of the landlord or letting agent, if they are higher).
- Payments on termination of a tenancy.
- Payments relating to council tax, utilities, TV licence and communications services (telephone, internet, cable TV and satellite TV).
You can find more information at GOV.UK – Tenant Fees Act 2019: Guidance.
How can I report my concerns?
If you think that you have been charged for something that you shouldn’t, you can report your concerns to us via the Citizen’s Advice website.