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How to Rent Guide – Government Updates on deposits

How to Rent Guide – Government Updates on deposits

On 31 May 2019, the government updated the How to Rent guide, detailing the rights and responsibilities tenants and landlords have regarding a rented property. This guide was revised to reflect the Tenant Fees Act, where landlords and agents are no longer able to charge a number of fees in England for new tenancies signed on or after June 1st.

In March, we provided tenants with everything they needed to know concerning the new Tenant Fees Act. But with the How to Rent Guide now also updated, the Tod Anstee Hancock experts thought it was time to provide landlords with the implications the new guidelines have on tenants’ fees and deposits.

Rental fees and security deposits

The How to Rent guide is to help tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to renting a property and must be issued by landlords at the beginning of a new shorthold tenancy or an existing tenancy renewal.

In the new guidelines, changes include requirements relating to deposits, tenancy default fees and permitted payments. These reference the tenancy deposit cap, potential refunds, deposit protection procedures and deposit replacement products.

The key elements landlords and agents need to know are:

  • Holding deposits are limited to one week’s worth of rent.
  • Deposits are capped at the equivalent of 5 weeks’ rent or 6 weeks for tenancies with an annual rent of over £50,000 or more.
  • Deposit replacement products can be offered as an option instead of a deposit, but they must be optional.
  • Any other fees are not permitted: Landlords and agents are no longer allowed to charge for anything except the rent, the tenancy deposit and a holding deposit

Although landlords are no longer able to charge tenants for the cost of their own referencing, check-in, inventory or admin fees, there are three fees which are exempt. These are for contract amendments and two types of default fees.

Landlords can request payments for late rent fees of up to 3% over the Bank of England base interest rate, as well as for any lost keys and changes to the tenancy, as this would be breaching the tenancy agreement.

These three fees must be written into the contract in order to be able to charge tenants while the tenancy is in progress.

Talk to an estate agent to discuss your property rental

Tod Anstee Hancock can provide help and advice on how the changes to the How to Rent Guide may affect you, so don’t hesitate to get in contact with one of our team.

To speak directly to one of our experienced lettings consultants, call us on 01243 531111 or contact us by answering a few quick questions through our online enquiry form.

Nevertheless, If you’re looking for the perfect West Sussex property to rent, Tod Anstee Hancock have a range of houses across the market for you to browse. Look no further than one of the largest independent estate agents in Chichester.