A ban on letting agents charging fees for new tenants, as well as tenants renewing their tenancies, will come into effect on June 1.
Supporting the Tenant Fees Bill in its third reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday evening, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth said that the changes are in “all our interest”, and they must be introduced as soon as possible.
“It has been clear throughout that this is a bill that will introduce important changes for the private rented sector,” he said. “We will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that the ban is properly communicated to tenants, landlords and agents.”
The changes mean landlords will only be able to charge rent and deposits, with exceptions for early terminations to the tenancy, utilities, and of course council tax.
A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We believe these amendments strike a fair balance between improving affordability for tenants whilst ensuring that landlords and agents have the financial security they need.”
The bill, which was first proposed in July of 2018 following a three-month consultation period, saw more than 4,700 responses from both individual tenants and housing sector bodies.
And the responses were heavily in favour of the ban with more than nine out of 10 tenants backing it.
Just in: The provisions of the Tenant Fees Bill will come into effect on the 1st June 2019 for all tenancies signed on or after the date. Full details here:https://t.co/1iNGqWE0UE
— NLA (@nationalandlord) January 15, 2019
Communities Secretary Javid, who called for a Housing First approach to Britain’s housing market crisis at a special reception with Big Issue vendors in last summer, said in 2018: “This government is determined to make sure the housing market works for everyone. Tenants should no longer be hit by surprise fees they may struggle to afford and should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit.”
Olly Grender, Lib Dem Peer, first proposed the ban in a Private Members Bill she named the Renters’ Rights Bill in 2016.
“This is a victory for all tenants who for too long have been ripped off by unfair fees when renting,” she said. “Upfront fees have often been the cause of homelessness and this is a significant change – my only disappointment is that the government have taken so long to put it into action.”