Draft Tenant Fees Bill

The Government has set out its approach to banning letting fees in England in a new draft bill that has been introduced to Parliament. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said that it will help millions of renters by bringing an end to costly upfront payments. Letting fees are already banned in Scotland but not yet in Wales. The draft Tenant Fees Bill will cap holding deposits at no more than one week’s rent and security deposits at no more than six weeks’ rent. The draft bill also sets out the proposed requirements on landlords and agents to return a holding deposit to a tenant. 
It will require Trading Standards to enforce the ban and to make provision for tenants to be able to recover unlawfully charged fees and a lead enforcement authority will be appointed in the lettings sector. There will be an amendment to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements should apply to property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. The draft bill takes into account responses from a public consultation. More than nine out of 10 tenants who responded to the Government consultation backed the action to ban letting agent fees, with seven out of 10 of them saying these fees affected their ability to move into a new rented property.
The new measures set out in the draft bill are now subject to Parliamentary scrutiny before they can be introduced into law. The move has come following evidence that the level of fees charged in England are often not clearly or consistently explained, leaving many tenants unaware of the true costs of renting a property. 
As part of wider plans to improve the rental market, government has already introduced measures that crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords that shirk their responsibilities,’
If you would like to discuss the Tenant Fees Bill in more detail or understand how it might impact on your rental property then please give me a call at the office. 
Simon Bacon (Director)