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No tenants’ fees in Wales

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Wales followed England’s lead in banning landlords from charging tenants fees with effect from the 1st of September, reported the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA).

That is the date the Renting Homes (Fees etc.)(Wales) Act came into force, just three months after similar legislation was introduced in England on the 1st of June – as reported in our posting of that date.

What it means

From the date of implementation, it means that landlords in Wales agreeing any new tenancy are forbidden from charging tenants’ fees, but for a short list of exceptions:

  • the rent, of course;
  • a security deposit – against potential damage and breakages caused by the tenant;
  • a holding deposit – the equivalent of up to one week’s rent; and
  • charges for services used by the tenant – including Council Tax, television licence fees, and utilities.

The new restrictions apply only to those tenancy agreements made after the 1st of September 2019 – and those made before that date still give landlords’ the freedom to collect previously agreed fees.

Default fees

There remains one area where the legislation remains incomplete and will be subject to further debate in the Welsh Assembly, the Senedd. This is on the matter of so-called default fees.

Default fees are broadly those which landlords may continue to charge as a result of the tenants’ contractual obligations. They include expenses incurred by a landlord for matters such as missed appointments (if a tenant is unavailable or refuses entry to a contractor arranged by the landlord to carry out repairs, for example) or for the replacement of sets of keys lost by the tenant.