Tenant Fees Act 2019

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into effect on 1 June 2019 and applies to England although may be extended to include Wales).

The Act controls what payments a landlord or letting agent may require “in connection with a tenancy of housing in England.” and restricting what third-party contracts a tenant or guarantor may be required to be bound by for services and insurance.

The starting point to understand is that all payments are essentially prohibited unless the payment is “permitted” under the Act. For example, rent and deposits are permitted under the Act.

What fees are now prohibited?

All up-front letting agent fees: your landlord must pay for any costs involved with setting up a tenancy.  This includes all administration fees, referencing, credit check and guarantor fees. It is unlawful to charge tenants for these services.

  • Deposits higher than five weeks' rent
  • You cannot be charged more than this, unless your home is an expensive rental costing more than £50,000 per annum (in which case your deposit is capped at six weeks' rent).
  • Holding deposits (to reserve a property) higher than one week's rent
  • In addition, your letting agent or landlord cannot make you pay for:
  • an inventory check (though you may wish to pay for one if your landlord does not, so you have a record of the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy)
  • a check-out fee at the end of your tenancy
  • a professional clean at the end of your tenancy (though your landlord may ask that the property is cleaned to a professional standard)

Landlords or agent who charge illegal fees can be fined up to £5,000 for a first breach of the ban, and up to £30,000 for additional breaches.

What can I still be charged for?

You can still be charged for:

  • the rent
  • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent
  • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent

In addition, your landlord or agent can charge you:

  • a fee for late rent payments, if the rent is 14 or more days late, which interest can be charged on
  • for the actual cost of replacing a lost key, evidenced by a written receipt
  • payments to change the tenancy (for example a change of sharer in a joint tenancy or for keeping a pet at the property) capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher, evidenced by a written receipt
  • payments for leaving a tenancy early, before the end of the fixed-term, when requested by the tenant. Landlords should only charge rent to cover any void period until a replacement tenant is found.

Generally, tenants are responsible for paying their own utility bills, broadband, phone, TV licence and council tax, unless these are included in the rent and set out in the tenancy agreement.

For further information please see details of our Property Management services.