James introduces new law protecting tenants from unfair letting fees

Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire has introduced the Tenant Fees Act which puts a stop to unnecessary, costly fees imposed on tenants by landlords and letting agents.

Tenants will be protected from unfair letting fees and will see their tenancy deposits capped at 5 weeks’ rent, giving people the assurance that legally they cannot be expected to pay more than this to secure a property.

Unexpected letting fees and high deposits can make properties harder for people to afford and are often not clearly explained upfront – leaving many prospective tenants unaware of the true costs of renting a property.

The Tenant Fees Bill, which has received Royal Assent today and now becomes an Act, puts an end to costly fees imposed by landlords or agents – with the ban on fees to come into effect from 1 June. It is expected to save tenants across England at least £240 million a year, or up to £70 per household.

Under the Act, landlords and agents are only able to recover reasonably incurred costs from tenants and must provide evidence of these costs before they can impose any charges. This will put a stop to, for example, tenants being charged hundreds of pounds for a damaged item that actually only costs a few pounds to replace – such as £60 to replace smoke alarms. Taken together, these provisions help reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset, renewal and termination of a tenancy.

Commenting on the new law, James said:

“Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs from agents or landlords. This Act not only delivers on our promise to ban letting fees but also caps deposits at 5 weeks’ rent and sets out how and when landlords can charge tenants fees – helping renters keep more of their hard-earned cash.”

“This is part of our ongoing action to make renting fairer and more transparent and make a housing market that works for everyone.”