As reported here the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (TFA) came into force on 1 June 2019.
Under the TFA the only payments a landlord or agent can charge in connection with a tenancy agreement entered into on or after 1 June 2019 are:
- the rent;
- a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above;
- a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent;
- payments to change the tenancy agreement when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher;
- payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant;
- payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and
- a default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost keys/security devices, where permitted under the terms of the tenancy agreement.
If a fee is not on this list, its a prohibited payment and should not charged. Landlords will be responsible for the costs associated with setting up, renewing or ending a tenancy (i.e. referencing, administration, inventory, renewal and check-out).
Landlords found charging prohibited payments will be liable to a financial penalty of up to £5,000 (for the first offence) and will not be able to rely on a Section 21 Notice Requiring Possession until the unlawfully charged fees or holding deposit are repaid. Further guidance on the TFA can be seen here.
In other news and on the subject of Section 21 Housing Act 1988, the Government said that it will 'abolish' s21. However, they are going to consult further on that and so we will wait to see what happens. In the meantime a new Section 21 Notice Requiring Possession has been introduced to reflect changes introduced by the TFA. The new s21 NRP in force from 1 June 2019 can be seen here.
tenants will no longer be stung by unreasonable costs from agents or landlords, thanks to the implementation of the Tenant Fees Act.