The draft Bill to ban letting agents’ fees levied on tenants has been published - it’s to be called the Tenants’ Fees Bill.
A statement from the Department for Communities and Local Government this morning says the Bill will help millions of renters.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid says: “Tenants should no longer be hit by surprise fees they may struggle to afford and should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit. We’re delivering on our promise to ban letting agent fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and increase protection for renters.”
Under the proposed legislation tenants can be asked to pay only their rent and a deposit; this will also limit holding deposits to no more than one week’s rent, and security deposits at no more than the equivalent of six weeks’ rent.
There will be fines of up to £5,000 for agents breaking the law and if there are two or more contraventions of the law within five years, fines can extend up to £30,000 or criminal prosecution.
The draft Bill will also prevent letting agents from double charging both tenants and landlords for the same services and local authority trading standards teams will be charged with enforcing the ban.
Normal processes for the Bill through Parliament would suggest that it would become law in the spring at the earliest. You can see the draft Bill here.
Meanwhile the Government has launched yet another consultation period today - this time on making membership of client money protection schemes mandatory for letting and managing agents that handle client money.