Tenant Fees Act 2019

07/02/2020

Who does the Tenant Fees Act apply to?

On 1st June 2019 the Tenant Fees Act came into force. It applies to most tenancies in the private rented sector (e.g. HMOs, and assured shorthold tenancies).

What fees can a landlord charge?

Under the Act, landlords can only require the following payments from tenants:

  • Rent;
  • Tenancy deposit (up to five week’s rent unless the annual rent exceeds £50,000);
  • Holding deposit (up to one week’s rent) which must be refundable unless the tenant pulls out of the tenancy;
  • Reimbursement for utility bills that the landlord pays (e.g. electric, gas, council tax, TV licence fee);
  • Costs incurred by the landlord dealing with late rent payments or replacing a lost key (if set out in the tenancy agreement and if reasonable);
  • Damages for an act or omission by the tenant relating to the tenancy e.g. where damage is caused to the property;
  • Costs in connection with a tenant’s request for a grant, renewal, continuance, variation, assignment, notation, or termination of the tenancy (up to £50.00 unless the landlord can show further reasonable costs were incurred).

What are the consequences for a breach of the Tenant Fees Act?

Trading Standards and local authorities have the power to enforce compliance with the Act and impose financial penalties of up to £5,000 per breach.

If the Property is managed by a letting agent the tenant can lodge a complaint and escalate it to the Property Redress Scheme or the Property Ombudsman.

The Act also allows tenants or relevant persons to recover unlawfully charged fees by making an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property).

Furthermore, landlords are prevented from serving a valid S.21 notice whilst holding unlawfully obtained fees or an unlawful deposit.

More information

Pinney Talfourd’s property litigation solicitors will be happy to discuss your situation in more detail. They are recommended by Legal 500 UK and are able to meet clients out of hours and across Essex and London. Contact the team here.

This article was written by Oliver-James Topping, Solicitor in the Residential Property Litigation Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of February 2020.

07/02/2020

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