On 1st June 2019, the provisions of the Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force, which heavily restrict the fees that residential landlords can charge tenants in respect of a new tenancy. This change comes on top of the recent proposal to fundamentally change Section 21 and bring an end to “no fault” evictions; with the many changes in the present and future for the way landlords, our expert Litigation & Dispute Resolution team are helping provide clarity and give sound legal advice.
To help landlords understand the implications of this new act, we’ve summarised the key changes that the Tenant Fees Act 2019 brings below.
Now, the only payments a landlord (or their letting agent) can require a tenant to pay for a new tenancy (in addition to the rent) are:
Effectively, the Act does away with, for example:
There are limited exceptions where the landlord may offer the tenant the opportunity to make a payment instead of complying with a different requirement, but any such requirement must be reasonable – an example may include where a tenant could pay for a credit check rather than providing all of their financial information.
Further, the new rules prevent a landlord from requiring a tenant to make payments to a third party for services such as gardening, insurance or cleaning (including a requirement that the property is cleaned by a professional cleaner prior to the tenants vacating). However, of course, there is no penalty to the landlord should the tenant decide that they wish to employ a gardener or cleaner themselves.
Should a landlord (or their letting agent) seek to impose any charges other than those designated as permitted payments, the landlord could face a civil claim with a penalty of up to £5,000.00 for a first offence, and criminal prosecution with an unlimited fine should further breaches be committed. Further, a landlord will not be entitled to serve a Section 21 Notice (the two-month no-fault notice) seeking possession of the property should they not have complied with the new legislation.
For further information please see the Government guidance.
With the Tenant Fees Act 2019 now in force, as well as fundamental changes to Section 21 likely on the horizon, it is important for landlords to ensure they’re legally protected. Our experienced Litigation department have a vast amount of experience working with landlords. If you need advice on the new regulations, do not hesitate to contact us today.
Or give us a call on 01283 531366
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