Today is a good day for renters. From today, renters can no longer be charged rip-off tenancy fees – because this government has banned them.
£150 fee simply for “checking in” – banned.
£300 “admin” fee – banned.
Upwards of £50 for a reference check – banned.
Renewal fees – banned.
If any landlord or letting agent tries to charge you such fees from today onwards, they will be breaking the law. And any attempt to charge a higher amount for the first month’s rent is also illegal. From today, the law is on your side and any landlord or agent still trying to charge these fees can be reported to Trading Standards. They can require landlords and agents to pay back any prohibited payment or any unlawfully retained holding deposit within seven to 14 days.
Until today, renters were paying on average £200-£300 in fees per tenancy, with some fees reaching an eye watering £700+. Renting a new place can already be a financial stretch for many, with a deposit and month’s rent in advance to pay before move in.
These fees made the whole process even more expensive for renters, and frankly, the fees were unjustifiable. A reference check should cost no more than £20, but some renters were being charged more than treble that amount. Hundreds of pounds charged for “admin” fees simply did not reflect the actual admin costs to letting agents, such as changing a name and address on a template contract.
And why should a good tenant who pays their rent on time and wants to extend their stay have to pay a fee for doing so?
As well as banning these fees, we are also capping deposits to no more than 5 weeks rent and holding deposits at one week’s rent.
These measures will make renting cheaper and easier for people. Earlier this year, we also announced plans to stop private landlords from evicting tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason.
It is important for this Conservative government that as well as helping people to buy a home of their own, through our policies like Help-to-Buy and cutting stamp duty for first time buyers, we also help the nation’s renters, and today marks an important step in doing that. In our 2017 manifesto we promised to ban tenancy fees, and today we have delivered on that promise.