What is the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
What is the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
Being a tenant can sometimes give you a lot to think about. To pick out one thing out of the bunch, there's the Tenants Fees Act 2019 (also known as the Tenant Fee Ban). It may sound complicated, but it's simply a set of rules created in order to make sure that tenants’ rights are being preserved and that your landlord/ letting agency aren’t charging you money for things they shouldn't be. The Tenant Fees Act aims to enforce the payments that are required from you (e.g. rent or loss of keys) and the additional payments that aren't.
The Tenant Fees Act applies to assured shorthold tenancies in the private rental sector- there are a huge number of homes across the UK that fall under this category, so this should guarantee that many soon-to-be tenants are protected from the UK tenant fee ban! So, if you’re asking yourself, “what is the Tenant Fees Act 2019?”, then this blog is here to clear things up for you. Let’s start by learning what the tenant fee ban consists of!
What is the Tenant Fee Ban?
Good question, and you may have more such as: “are tenant fees legal?. Which fees should tenants be paying? Well, the Tenant Fees Act was first introduced on the 1st June 2019 as a way to protect tenants from paying additional fees that shouldn’t be their responsibility when renting a new home or renewing their tenancy. Firstly, you should know that there are a select amount of fees that are now banned for tenants to pay. This ban should cover any fees that are charged to:
- Shorthold tenants
- Student lettings
- If you’re living in a room in a shared house
- Lodgers living with a private landlord
- Property guardians
However, there are still things that you can be charged for; it’s dependent on your situation (e.g. whether you signed your tenancy before the 1st June in 2019). Now, let’s clear up what fees are banned and what fees you may still be charged for.
Which fees are banned?
According to the Tenant Fees Act, a tenant shouldn’t be charged for the following:
- Viewing a possible rental property
- Tenancy-set up costs
- Costs associated with leaving the property once their tenancy agreement has ended
- Costs from setting up the tenancy agreement
- Paying a letting agency to do checks on the tenant
It’s worth noting the act also states that tenancy deposits shouldn’t exceed the cost of 5-weeks rent.
If the tenant leaves the property in an unreasonably bad state, the landlord should be able to cover the costs of the clean through the tenancy deposit scheme (you can take a look at what else a landlord can deduct from your deposit here). Otherwise the tenant is not permitted to be charged extra for the clean.
What can your landlord charge you for?
Alright, now we know which fees shouldn’t be charged but it’s worth brushing up your knowledge on fees you may still be charged as a tenant. These could be:
- Bill payments
- Loss of a key
- A holding deposit or security deposit
- Changes to (or termination of) the tenancy agreement
- Late payment of rent
Keep in mind that there are many other resources on our blog to help you with any issues you may come across as a tenant. You can find some great tips on how best to deal with an unreasonable landlord who may well not be following the Tenants fees act. If your landlord isn’t following the act, it’s considered a breach and they can get a fine of up to £5,000. In the case that they don’t follow the act for a second time - within five years of being charged the first time - it will then be considered a criminal offence and they may be charged up to £30,000.
In spite of this, the Tenant Fee Ban may not apply to you- we have a list for you below which shows the groups that aren’t supported by the Tenant Fee Ban:
Who does the tenant fees act 2019 not apply to?
- Local housing authorities
- The Greater London Authority
- Any organisations acting on behalf of the listed above
A few final tips…
Knowing when the Tenant Fee Ban applies can be pretty handy, as it can set you some expectations on what you should and shouldn’t have to pay for during your tenancy. There are still some exceptions to the bans, so it’s always worth double checking whether the ban applies for your specific situation. In any case, we hope you’re now aware of the support that can be provided to you from the Tenant Fees Act 2019 if you’re a tenant.
Finally, you can always receive more guidance from our blog which includes a whole range of topics, from renting to buying your first home!
Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and the information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.