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Tenant Fees Ban – “A watershed moment”

Did the Government, just before the Brexit vote yesterday afternoon, sneak this game-changing news in hoping we wouldn’t notice?

Sheila Manchester

If they did, it didn’t work. We all now know that the fees ban will become law on 1st June 2019.

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark, said, “The PRS has undergone a tsunami of change over the last few years, and there are difficult times ahead with the tenant fees ban is expected to come into effect next year. With all the new legislation landlords have faced over the last few years, they have found themselves either being pushed out of the market or forced to pass rising costs on to tenants – a trend which we’ll continue to see next year.

“However, looking further ahead we firmly believe that the industry will come out stronger, more professional and better respected at the other side. The best landlords and agents will adapt and survive to the new circumstances, keeping the PRS afloat.”

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth imageLord Bourne of Aberystwyth said, “We need to enable agents and landlords following Royal Assent to become compliant, but we intend for the provisions to come into force on June 1st 2019.
“This would mean the ban on lettings fees would apply to all tenancies signed after this date.”

  • Key points:
    Default fees limited to charges for replacement keys or a respective security device and late rent payments.
  • Holding deposits will be capped at no more than one week’s rent, applying to a maximum of one property only
  • A civil offence with a fine of £5,000 for a first offence, alongside civil penalties of up to £30,000
  • 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 retain the money raised through financial penalties, with this money reserved for future local housing enforcement
    Alongside rent and deposits, landlords and letting agents may only charge tenants fees associated with:
  • A change or early termination of a tenancy, when requested by the tenant
  • Utilities, communication services and Council Tax
  • Payments arising from a default by the tenant, such as replacing lost keys.

Jon Notley, former Commercial Director, Zoopla and now CEO of Zero Deposit added, “The passing of the Tenant Fees Bill is a watershed moment in the UK’s rental economy but one that brings with it a sense of both optimism and caution.

“On the one hand, we welcome any proposed changes to legislation that enable tenants to move more freely – improving rental affordability is both clear and necessary, while the new regulations should improve practices and standards across the board. However, it is vital these changes do not overexpose landlords to risk or unnecessarily burden agencies with time-consuming admin that could be better invested elsewhere. The barometer of the success of this bill will be a rental market that works for everyone.”

January 17, 2019

One comment

  1. Watch this piece of ill thought out legislation turn into a disaster as PRS landlords bailout and reduce supply even further. No thought was given to the day-to-day running of a tenancy. A more sensible approach would have been to cap fees at a percentage of the rent or similar.

    So now what? for example: restrict deposits to 1.5 months; so that means, no pets at all, no benefits, and with no reference fees the criteria for tenants will be much higher, so it will only favour the higher income, no pet, ultra low risk individuals.

    Ultimately this is all because the government policy has failed by inviting people to move here with nowhere to live. 6,000,000 have moved here in recent years and if you look on the Gov website, you will still find a document saying to asylum sneakers that they can choose a flat or a house and get x amount of money if the come to the UK from FRANCE!. If we build 220,000 social houses a year (2018) and invite 250,000 assylum sneakers (out of 560,000) alone to move here, how is it ever going to improve by attacking the PRS landlord??…..they should be given tax breaks for helping out not pounded into submission.

    Still since when has a Gov in recent years got anything right.

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