Brent’s private renters to be protected from exorbitant and unlawful fees

30 May 2019

From 1 June, many of the fees charged by landlords and agents in the private rented sector will be scrapped.

 

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 bans private sector landlords and agents from charging fees for credit checks, inventories, referencing, professional cleaning, gardening services and admin charges.

 

Fees that remain legal include rent, a refundable tenancy deposit of one week's rent or less, payments to change the tenancy, payments associated with early termination of the tenancy and payment in respect of council tax, utilities, a TV license and communication services.

 

The Act also sets out a maximum amount that landlords and agents can ask for on these legal charges. A refundable tenancy deposit, for example, will be capped at no more than five weeks' rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks' rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above.

 

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "Renters in the private sector have a right to a decent home and protection from exploitation by rogue landlords. We know how difficult it is for tenants to afford private rents as London's housing crisis combines with insecure employment and welfare changes. We will continue to work with landlords to improve the service that tenants in Brent receive."

 

Anyone convicted of an offence under the Act will be liable to an unlimited fine set by the courts. If a financial penalty of up to £30,000 is imposed as an alternative to prosecution, this would not result in a criminal conviction.

 

Cllr Tom Miller, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: "We have teams of officers in place who will be enforcing this law from 1 June. Our message to property owners and businesses is to familiarise yourselves with these legal changes so as not to be caught out and face the prospect of heavy fines."

 

The law will apply to any new tenancy agreement as of 1 June. However, if a tenancy agreement was entered before the 1 June, then the tenant may be charged the fees set out within the agreement. But after 1 June 2020, the term within the tenancy will no longer be binding and the ban will apply to all applicable agreements.

 

If you want to find out further details on how the act will affect you as a tenant, landlord, or letting agent, visit Tenant Fees Act 2019or contact Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06.