From the 1st June 2019 landlords and agents will be limited when taking fees, deposits and holding deposits from tenants. These rules will apply to new Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement created on or after 1st June 2019 and will apply to renewals of existing tenancies up to 31st May 2020.
Landlords and agents won’t be able to take a fee from tenants ‘in connection with the tenancy’ for things such as admin fees, tenancy renewals, changes to a tenancy agreement before it has been entered into etc.
Fees can be charged where a tenant has:
- engaged an agent to undertake work on their behalf (i.e. source a specific property for them),
- breached of tenancy (these charged must be clearly listed in the agreement),
- requested replacement keys,
- early termination
- or where a tenant has requested a variation on the tenancy (capped at £50 or reasonable costs).
Will be capped at maximum of five weeks rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000 or six weeks rent where the annual rent is more than £50,000.
Refundable holding deposits
Will be limited to the equivalent to one weeks rent.
If you charge a fee that is not allowed this will be a prohibited payment. You will be restricted from using a Section 21 until you have repaid the money.
Taking more than one holding deposit for the same property will also be a prohibited payment as would failing to return a holding deposit within the agreed time (usually 15 days).
Taking a larger payment for the first months rent with lower subsequent payments will also be viewed as a prohibited payment.
A breach of the legislation will be a civil offence with a penalty of up to £5,000 fine.