The tenant fees bill is now the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and is due to come into force, in England only, on 1 June.
It is an extremely important act and will affect the private rented sector in many ways – some of which may be as yet unknown.
Contrary to what many may think the Tenant Fees Act affects landlords as much as letting agents – as ALL fees to tenants (other than those specifically permitted) are forbidden. Including those charged by landlords.
Here are some of the points made by David in his talk:
- All payments to third parties (e.g. for tenant insurance) are illegal unless the tenant was given a choice whether or not to pay it
- You cannot get around the act by charging a higher rent in month 1 (or indeed any other month)
- You need to keep detailed records – for example of how the holding deposit was dealt with or why – in case there is a claim or complaint to the enforcement bodies later
- The new rules will apply to all ASTs and licenses (including lodger agreements!) but not assured tenancies, company lets or other common law tenancies
- Penalties could be very severe indeed as the £5,000 fine for a first offence (for example) can be charged multiple times if the non-compliance is in respect of different issues or fees
We are STILL not fully aware of what the act entails as we are still waiting for the government guidance. However, David will be speaking at the 2019 Landlord Law Conference on 17 May (two weeks before the act is due to come into force) so he will be able to bring us up to date then.
You can see the first ten minutes of David’s talk on YouTube here but only Business Level members can see the full recording which is here.