2019 provides a huge change in the way that properties are let out to tenants. With new legislation on the way, the fees you pay as a new tenant in a property will be largely affected. The new bill has greatly altered what your landlords and letting agents can ask of you. Introducing new caps and a more select group of approved charges, these changes are to become law.
So when does it come into effect? Sooner than you may think! June 1st 2019 is the official day where this bill becomes law. So you will be seeing the changes it makes to the letting process before you know it! All tenancies signed after this date are covered by this new legislation and Complete Residential Lettings are no exception to this. So what are you still required to pay?
Fees acquired on the tenants part
Any fees that would be created by the tenant will still be in effect. However there will be some changes to their enforcement.
Default fees – Charges triggered by the tenant will still be charged for. Things such as replacement keys, security devices and late rent fees are still chargeable. As these are out of the hands of the landlord or letting agent and the cost falls solely on the tenant. However each charge must be paired with evidence to prove the fee was needed and reasonable.
Tenancy Changes – Fees for tenancy agreement changes are also chargeable, when initiated by the tenant themselves. However these fees are now capped at a cost of £50, unless the landlord or letting agent can prove a higher cost to be necessary. Then they will be allowed to charge a higher amount, as long as it is proven a reasonable cost.
Basic renting fees
Standard renting fees are also still approved under the new bill. However each must be proven as a required fee.
Deposits – Refundable deposits used to hold a property are still legal. However every deposit will now have to be capped at a cost of one weeks rent, no more than this can be asked for. As well as the new cap, stricter rules will be put in place as to what happens with that deposit until an agreement is made.
Security / tenancy deposits – A deposit can still be asked for when required. But this has also gained a cap of its own. This deposit can now only be a maximum of five weeks rent of the property in question. This is unless the annual rent is £50,000 or above, in which case the maximum charge is six weeks worth of rent instead.
Other fees – Utility fees and council tax will still appear in your renting fees.
For many letting agents, compliance with the changes will not be far off from their current practices, however all are being pushed to review their guidelines to ensure they are up to standard. As an offence towards this legislation can lead to a £5,000 charge for the first time, with a much higher cost for repeat occurrences.
If you have any questions, be sure to speak to your letting agent or landlord as you get ready to begin a new tenancy agreement.