What is the new Tenant Fees Act 2019?
The Act provides protection to residential tenants and licensees regarding certain fees charged by landlords and letting agents and will come into force for new and renewal tenancies and licences on 1 June 2019 and for existing tenancies and licences on 1 June 2020.
The Act limits the amount that landlords and agents can demand as a security deposit to the equivalent of 5 weeks’ rent (or 6 weeks if the annual rent exceeds £50,000). Holding deposits cannot exceed 1 week’s rent and must be fully repaid except in very limited circumstances.
The Act details permitted charges including those for late payment of rent, early termination, council tax and loss of keys. In some cases, there are restrictions on the amount that may be charged but they are mainly limited to the reasonable costs incurred by the landlord or agent.
Landlords/agents in breach of the provisions may receive heavy fines or civil penalties and repeat offences will constitute a criminal offence. Tenants and licensees can recover money wrongly paid and landlords will be unable to use certain procedures to terminate a tenancy whilst holding prohibited payments.
Trading standards and district councils will enforce the provisions.