The Tenant Fees Bill in England has been introduced, with it costing landlords an estimated £82.9million in the first year.
- landlords will not be able to issue a Section 21 notice until they have repaid any unlawfully charged fees;
- security deposits must not exceed the equivalent of six weeks' rent;
- holding deposits will be capped at no more than one week’s rent;
- fines of £5,000 - £30,000 can be issued as an alternative to prosecution;
- the Consumer Rights Act 2015 will be amended to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements should apply to property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla;
- local authorities will be able to ring-fence any money raised for future local housing enforcement.
What can landlords and letting agents charge tenants for?
Charges can only be made for rent, deposits, utilities, communication services and Council Tax, payments arising from a default by the tenant such as replacing a lost key and, change or early termination of a tenancy when requested by the tenant.
Commenting on the announcement, members of the MakeUrMove Facebook Group expressed their views including concerns that:
- landlords will have to increase their rents to cover the additional costs, making a property less affordable than before;
- some landlords will decide to sell up as a result of the raft of recent legislation changes, so there will be less rental stock available which will put pressure on housing;
- there seems to be little protection for landlords.