The Tenant Fees Act 2019 Guide
Hey, UK renters! If you've ever felt confused about the charges that your landlord or letting agent can impose, you're not alone. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 was brought in to make things clearer and fairer, but let's face it, legislation isn't always the easiest thing to understand. That's why we've created this simple guide to break down what the Act means for you.
What is the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
Before we dive in, let's clarify what we're talking about. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 is a piece of legislation introduced to protect tenants from unfair fees imposed by landlords or letting agents. It came into full effect in June 2020, and applies to all private assured shorthold tenancies, tenancies of student accommodation, and most licences to occupy housing in the private rental sector in England.
Permitted Payments: What CAN You Be Charged?
The Act lists the payments that a landlord or letting agent can charge. These are known as 'permitted payments'. Here's what they include:
Rent: This one's pretty obvious. Your landlord can charge you rent for living in the property.
Tenancy Deposit: This is a refundable deposit capped at no more than 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).
Holding Deposit: This is a refundable deposit to reserve the property while reference checks are carried out. It's capped at no more than one week's rent.
Changes to the Tenancy Agreement: If you request a change to the tenancy agreement (like adding a pet clause), your landlord can charge up to £50, or reasonably incurred costs if they're higher.
Early Termination Fee: If you request to leave before the end of your tenancy, your landlord can charge you for the loss they suffer as a result (like the cost of re-advertising).
Utilities and Council Tax: Your landlord can require you to pay for utilities (like gas, electricity, and water), a television licence, and Council Tax.
Late Payment of Rent: If your rent is late by 14 days or more, your landlord can charge interest on the overdue amount at 3% above the Bank of England's base rate.
Replacement of Lost Keys or Security Devices: Your landlord can charge you the reasonable cost of replacing lost keys or security devices.
Prohibited Payments: What CAN'T You Be Charged?
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 bans all payments that aren't 'permitted payments'. Here are some examples of fees you can't be charged:
Tenancy set-up fees
Third-party fees (unless they're for changes to the tenancy or utilities/Council Tax)
Professional cleaning (unless you've agreed to this in your contract and the charge reflects the actual cost of the cleaning)
Remember, if you think you're being unfairly charged, you have rights. Trading Standards can help you recover unlawfully charged fees, and your landlord or agent could be fined if they're found to be in breach of the law.
Navigating the world of tenancy fees can be tricky, but with the Tenant Fees Act 2019 on your side, you're in a stronger position than ever. Stay informed, know your rights, and happy renting!