The Tenant Fees Bill passed it's final reading today in the House of Commons so it will soon gain Royal Asset and become an Act.
The landmark Bill states that from June 2019, letting agents will no longer be able to charge fees to set up or renew a tenancy within the private rented sector. This should help thousands of tenants across the United Kingdom, particularly those trying to find a new home.
In addition to these changes, all security deposits for private rented homes will be capped at a maximum of five weeks' worth of rent (where the annual rent is less than 50K), making it easier for to move whilst providing security for landlords if the tenant backs out with short notice.
These fees were introduced after it became clear that families were paying hundreds of pounds of unfair and unexpected fees before they could actually move into the property of their choice.
The introduction of the Bill is set to save renters around £160 million as there were many cases where renters were charged hundreds for a copy of a pre-printed agreement, overcharged for credit checks, referencing, inventory checks, administration and cleaning services.
Landlords and letting agents will still be able to charge for rent, utilities and council tax (if part of the tenancy), a refundable deposit which should go into an independent tenancy deposit scheme, a one week of rent holding deposit (if necessary) and changes to the tenancy requested by the tenant or due to defaults and termination. However the costs of the latter should be reasonable with evidence provided in writing by the landlord or letting agent.
Anybody flouting these rules could face a £5000 fine for a first offence rising to an unlimited fine for repeat offenders.
We will continue to work closely with tenants, landlords and letting agents to help ensure that the ban on fees is properly communicated so everybody is clear on what to expect when renting a property.
For more information on renting in the private sector see our guidance at www.gov.uk/private-renting