Tenant fees ban – what’s changing for tenants after June 1st?
From June 2019, new government legislation will protect all tenants from unreasonable letting fees and will cap tenants’ deposits at 5 weeks’ rent.
Saturday June 1st is when the tenant fees ban will come into action, a new law that must be adhered to by all letting agents and landlords. The new law is forecast to save tenants across England an estimated average £70 per household.
So, in this blog post the Tod Anstee Hancock Lettings team provides you with everything you need to know as a tenant ahead of the proposed tenant fees ban in England.
What is the tenant fees ban?
The tenant fees ban is new legislation that has been introduced to protect tenants from unfair letting fees and is welcomed by many industry groups who have campaigned against estate agents charging unreasonable fees to tenants.
The ban will prevent letting agents and landlords from charging the following fees:
- Completing credit referencing checks
- Preparing tenancy agreements
- Creating a guarantor form if separate to the tenancy agreement
- Inventories, check-ins and check-outs
- Administrative tasks
The ban will apply to all new tenancies and tenancy agreements from Saturday 1st June 2019, but may not be applied to existing tenancy agreements agreed prior to the 1st June. However, after the ban has been in place for 12 months (June 2020), pre-existing tenancies must also comply with the new legislation.
At Tod Anstee Hancock, our tenants signing tenancy agreements after June 1st can rest assured that no fees will be applied according to the new government mandate. In fact, Tod Anstee Hancock has never charged tenants for inventories or check-ins and guarantor clauses are included in our tenancy agreements which both tenant and guarantor sign. Although these administrative costs have not gone away, they will now be absorbed by our agency and the landlords we represent.
For more information on the fees we currently charge, take a look at our breakdown of tenant fees which will be updated in time for the legislation change on June 1st.
What does the ban mean for tenants?
With the date now finalised for the ban to be enforced, both tenants, landlords and letting agents can now prepare for the changes.
As a tenant, the ban means that you will no longer be required to finance such a large amount in upfront fees for the range of administrative tasks necessary to set up a tenancy agreement. Currently the cost of these fees often varies between estate agents but are mostly influenced by location and are noticeably higher in major cities. Nevertheless, one thing that is certain is that a wide discrepancy in tenant fees resulted in a lack of understanding of how the fees related to the service provided.
The introduction of the tenant fees ban is a huge victory for many charities, MPs and campaigning groups who have persistently called for regulation in this area.
When asked for her thoughts on the tenant fees ban, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice, commented:
“This is a landmark moment for the millions of people who rent privately. For too long families and other renters have had to hand over hundreds of pounds on unfair and uncompetitive letting fees every time they moved home.”
It comes as no surprise that the large majority of tenants are fully supportive of this ban, as it’s a decision that is expected to them save a collective total of £240 million a year.
What expenses and fees should tenants still be aware of?
Of course, the tenant fees ban does not remove all fees that you currently incur as a tenant. For example, rent will still be payable in advance, and there have been concerns that landlords and agents will simply raise rent to compensate for the fees that they will no longer receive following June 1st.
However, the Government has already announced a ban on setting higher rent for the initial period of the tenancy, before reducing it further down the line.
Tenants should also be aware that the tenant fees ban does not apply to holding deposits and charges for defaulting on the contract, although the Government are also putting plans in place to apply further restrictions on these matters as an extension of the tenant fees ban.
Here is a summary of the expenses to budget for and possible fees which tenants will need to be aware of:
- Rent payable in advance.
- Utilities and council tax if included within the tenancy.
- A refundable deposit, capped at five weeks’ rent.
- A refundable holding deposit to reserve the property, capped at one week’s rent.
- Changes to the tenancy if requested by the tenant, capped at £50 (or “reasonable costs”).
- Early termination of the tenancy if 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.
Speak to the expert letting agents at Tod Anstee Hancock!
For help and advice on the tenant fees ban, Tod Anstee Hancock has an expert Residential Lettings team, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Chichester and West Sussex property rental market.
If you are actively looking to rent a property in one of Britain’s most sought-after areas, browse our West Sussex rental properties to rent now.
Or if you would like to speak to one of our dedicated team members with regards to the forthcoming tenant fees ban, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. To speak directly to one of our experienced lettings consultants, call us on 01243 531111.
Unable to speak to us over the phone right now? No problem, you can also contact us by answering a few quick questions and completing our online enquiry form.