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Tenant Fees Bill finally published – don’t panic!

  • November 9, 2017

So, the Government last week finally published its Draft Tenants Fees Bill.

Fortunately, reports of possible draconian restrictions and severely capped payments have proved unfounded. Apart from the actual tenant fees ban itself, the bill does not really give much cause for concern.  The main elements of the bill are as follows:

  • Letting Agents and Landlords will be banned from charging any fees, either directly or from a third party (a referencing agency for instance) as a condition of granting, renewing or continuing a tenancy.
  • Tenants can be charged for a ‘default’ such as requesting a replacement key. However, what constitutes a default?   Hopefully, this will become clearer because permitted payments have to be specified in the tenancy agreement.
  • Letting Agents and Landlords will be able to charge Tenants a refundable damages tenancy deposit of no more than six weeks’ rent.
  • Letting Agents and Landlords will be able to charge Tenants a holding deposit of no more than one week’s rent which has to be refunded to the Tenant or deducted from the first payment of rent in the event of the tenancy proceeding. If the Landlord withdraws from the letting then this holding deposit must be refunded within 15 days. If the tenant withdraws, fails referencing as a result of providing misleading information or fails Right to Rent checks then the holding deposit does not have to be refunded.
  • Trading Standards can impose fines of up to £5,000 on Letting Agents and Landlords if prohibited payments are collected from Tenants, increasing to £30,000 if repeated.

The general feeling is that the bill will become law next Autumn but there are those who would like to see this happen much more quickly even by the Spring.  However, the Government has a number of distractions right now not least of which is Brexit so one wonders whether the bill can in reality be speeded through.  Time will tell!

We’ll keep you posted.

Bill

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