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Government to stop agents billing tenants too much for property damage

Minister announces controversial measure which is to be added to the Tenant Fees Ban as it passes through parliament.

Nigel Lewis

property damage

The government is to ban agents and landlords charging tenants for minor damage to properties and has added the measure to its Tenant Fees Bill going through parliament.

Due to become law next April, the legislation will only allow agents and landlords to recover ‘reasonable costs’ from tenants when they move out, evidence for which must be provided to them before charges can be imposed.

The government says this will put and end to the worst excesses of inflated charges demanded by some rogue agents, including tenants who are charged £60 for a new smoke alarm that is available for free locally from their council.

Property damage

But the announcement is likely to create confusion within the industry. The government has not yet outlined what ‘reasonable’ costs means and such a vague definition will lead to arguments between tenants and their landlord or agent over it.

property damage“Tenants across the country, whatever their income, should not be hit with unfair costs by agents or landlords,” says Minister Rishi Sunak (left).

“This government is determined to make sure our housing market works and this new provision in the Tenant Fees Bill will make renting fairer and more transparent for all.”

This is most significant addition to the Tenant Fees Bill since it began passing through parliament on the 2nd May this year, heralded by the government who said it would “stop letting agents exploiting their position as intermediaries between landlords and tenants”.

Other measures already included in the legislation include holding deposits capped at one week’s rent, change of tenancy charges restricted to £50 and fines of £5,000 for initial breaches of the legislation.

September 5, 2018


  1. It seems that nobody in the Government values the time Letting Agents spend in preparing a property for rent, or at the end of the tenancy, once the tenant has moved out. This is yet another attempt at vilifying Letting Agents and Landlords – the majority of whom are good, honest, hard-working people, just trying to make a decent living. We have to make some profit, otherwise, what’s the point of being in business?!

    Using the example in your article – if a tenant has broken or removed a smoke alarm, an Agent will usually have to purchase another alarm and then arrange for it to be installed. More often than not, if it’s a like-for-like replacement, then the Agent will simply fit the new alarm – it’s part of the job. But who is paying for the Agent’s time? Surely it should be the tenant.

    This is just one small example of how we have all been tarred with the same brush, thanks to a small minority of rogue agents and landlords. Instead, the Government and local Councils should have tackled the problem areas rather than a blanket ban. I’m still hoping that the Government will see sense and listen to all the arguments in favour of tenant fees and agree a cap on fees as oppose to a total ban, but I won’t hold my breath.

    Finally, I’m sure that the ‘back-street agents/landlords’ who have fuelled this tenant fees ban in the first place, will continue to operate in their back-street ways. And I’m sure they will continue to break the law and keep their head below the parapet and not be found out. As always, it’s the good guys who are going to suffer in this.

  2. To use the only example you they have cited, ie the smoke alarms. Who is going to cover the admin and time to arrange collection of the smoke alarm and who is going to pay for it to be fitted if not the tenant. Why should the landlord have to pay this when it if it is clearly proven to be the tenants fault then surely a reasonable fee such as £60 is fair?

    This is the tip of the iceberg and whilst I fully support that tenants should not be charged more than is fair why should the same calculation allow for landlords to be unfairly charged?

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