If you've been a renter (and let's face it, most of you probably have), you're probably aware of letting fees. Agencies and landlords love to charge them for various things, typically under the guise of 'admin fees'. Well the government is putting a stop to that.
Under incoming rules landlords and letting agents could be fined up to £5,000 for trying to charge them. Anyone could doing it twice in five years can expect to pay up to £30,000. So all you'll have to pay are monthly rent payments and a refundable deposit.
It's probably safe to say that rent payments will probably go up to compensate. Letters aren't going to be happy this golden goose is going away, but at least it means there won't be any costs hiding away when you try and move. A recent survey by Housing England estimated that tenants pay an average of £223 in fees, but a different survey by Shelter claims that one in seven tenants pay over £500.
These plans were originally announced by chancellor Phillip Hammond last November, with draft legislation published yesterday.The draft Tenant Fees bill will need to be subject to scrutiny by Parliament before it becomes law. However, as it stands it contains the following rules:
- Capping holding deposits at no more than one week’s rent, and security deposits at no more than 6 weeks’ rent. It also includes requirements on returning a holding deposit to the tenant.
- Making it a civil offence to charge such fees, with the fines as mentioned above.
- Requiring Trading Standard to enforce the rules, and having provisions in place for tenants to recover unlawful charges.
- The appointment of an enforcement authority in the rental sector.
- Amendments to the consumer rights out of 2015 ensuring transparency also applies to online sites like Right more and Zoopla.
Hopefully there aren't any unscrupulous individuals in Parliament (read: greedy landlords) that will try and put a stop to this. Since basically no one can afford to buy a house anymore, the rental sector is a necessary evil. So the fairer it becomes for tenants, the better. [Manchester Evening News]