The Tenant Fees Bill has been introduced to parliament today, the government has announced, and will now become law next year.
This means the formal process of banning fees via the previously draft bill will now begin and is expected to take a further eight or nine months to pass through the multi-stage legislative process.
It has also been confirmed that the only exceptions to the ban will be for changes to or early termination of a contract by a tenant, any outstanding utility, Council Tax or services monies owed or when a tenant loses a key and needs a replacement.
Today’s announcement also confirms property portals will be required to check that the agent’s fees are accurately and transparently published on their sites as much as the letting agents who provide them.
The start of the Tenant Fees Bill passage through parliament follows its heavy scrutiny by the Select Committee that oversees the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG).
“This government is determined to build a housing market fit for the future,” James Brokenshire, the new DHCLG Secretary of State James Brokenshire (pictured, left) said today.
“Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs. That’s why we’re delivering our promise to ban letting fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and more transparent.”
He also reiterated that the bill’s aim was to prevent letting agents from ‘double charging’ both landlords and tenants for the same services.
Other measures confirmed in the announcement include capping holding deposits at no more than one week’s rent, limiting ‘change of tenancy’ work to £50 and introducing fines of up £5,000 for agents who break the new regulations.
The government has also confirmed that eviction of a tenant will soon be impossible until any unlawfully-charged fees have been returned to them.