New Rules for Renting – Tenant Fees Banned

From 1st June 2019, new rules for renting came into place, which means that landlords and letting agents in England can no longer charge tenants for letting fees. (Tenant fees have already been banned in Scotland since 2012).
This is great news (even if it’s long overdue!), which will shave £223 off the average tenant’s bill when they start to rent (though you’ll still have to fork out a month’s rent in advance, a security deposit and get the place kitted out so it resembles something like a home!)

The change in law means that the only things that landlords and agents can charge tenants for are:

  • Rent
  • Utilities and council tax if included within the tenancy
  • A refundable deposit, capped at six weeks’ rent
  • A refundable holding deposit to reserve the property, capped at one week’s rent
  • Changes to the tenancy requested by the tenant, capped at £50 (or ‘reasonable costs’)
  • Early termination of the tenancy requested by the tenant
  • Defaults by the tenant, such as fines for late rent payments or lost keys. These must be ‘reasonable costs’, with evidence given in writing by the landlord or agent

Tenants can no longer be charged for:

  • Admin costs – including credit checks, references and guarantors
  • Check-out fees – the landlord can only charge you for a professional clean if they have a good reason to
  • Renewing a tenancy, if you want to stay beyond the fixed term

If you started renting before 1st June 2019, the new rules do not apply. Any fees agreed when you signed your contract will still be payable until June 2020.
Tenant fees are currently still legal in Northern Ireland and Wales. They should be clearly communicated on the agent’s website and literature. Charges vary considerably from agent to agent, so it’s best to compare a few and try to negotiate, because these fees can add several hundred pounds to the bill you pay upfront when you start renting!

New to renting? Find out more:

Check out how the renting process works, info on the costs of renting and what you need to know about taking on a tenancy.