Housing

The Tenant Fees Act will come into force in June

It’s official – the new law protecting renters from unexpected costs and hidden fees has received Royal Assent

Private renting homelessness

The Tenant Fees Bill is now an act of parliament after it was granted Royal Assent on Tuesday.

The new law aims to crackdown on hidden and unexpected fees by ensuring that landlords can only charge for rents and deposits.

The only exceptions will be for early terminations, utilities and council tax while the law also caps the deposit paid before moving into five weeks’ worth of rent.

It also sets out that the maximum amount that can be charged for a change to a tenancy is £50 and that landlords breaching the ban for the first time will be hit with a £5,000 fine.

The bill, which stems from Lib Dem peer Olly Grender’s private member’s bill named the Renters’ Rights Bill introduced in 2016, was originally announced in the November 2016 Autumn Statement but finally completed its journey into law today – it will come into force as the Tenant Fees Act 2019 on June 1, encompassing all new and renewed tenancies will come under the scope of the ban on that day.

The government expects that it will save tenants across England up to £240 million a year, or up to £70 per household.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs from agents or landlords.

“This is part of our ongoing action to make renting fairer and more transparent and make a housing market that works for everyone.”

The development has been welcomed by Grender as well as Conservative Nick Bourne, who supported the bill at its third reading at the House of Lords in January.

But David Cox, chief executive of letting agents body ARLA Propertymark, said: “We’ve known the tenant fees ban has been coming for a long time, but with only 109 days to go until it comes into force, the industry must start taking time to prepare.”

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