Government have published guidance for tenants, landlords, letting agents and local authority enforcement officers on the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
**Download the Tenant Fees Act 2019 guidance for Letting Agents and Landlords**
The ban is being introduced in two stages, depending on when a tenancy was entered into.
- From 1 June 2019, if you enter into a tenancy agreement, student let or licence to occupy housing in the private rented sector, you will be prohibited from charging any fees or other payments that are not included in the list of permitted payments.
Landlords will be responsible for the costs associated with setting up, renewing or ending a tenancy (i.e. referencing, administration, inventory, renewal and check-out fees). Agents and landlords do not have to pay back any fees that have been charged to a tenant before 1 June 2019.
Where a tenancy agreement was entered into before 1 June 2019, you will still be able to charge fees until 31 May 2020, but only where these are required under an existing tenancy agreement.
- From 1 June 2020, the ban on fees will apply to all applicable tenancies and licences to occupy housing in the private rented sector. You will not be able to charge any fees after this date (apart from those fees which are expressly permitted under the ban).
What does this mean for existing tenancy agreements?
If a tenancy agreement was entered before 1 June 2019, you can continue to require a tenant to pay fees written into that agreement (e.g. check-out or renewal fees) until 31 May 2020. After 1 June 2020, the term requiring that payment will no longer be binding. Should you, in error, ask a tenant to make such a payment, you should return the payment immediately and must return this within 28 days.
The Guidance reminds agents that the only payments you can charge in connection with a tenancy are:
- a) the rent
b) a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
c) a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent
d) payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher
e) payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
f) payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and
g) A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement
If the fee you are charging is not on this list, it is a prohibited payment and you should not charge it. A prohibited payment is a payment outlawed under the ban.
You cannot evict a tenant using the section 21 eviction procedure until you have repaid any unlawfully charged fees or returned an unlawfully retained holding deposit. All other rules around the application of the section 21 evictions procedure will continue to apply.