It feels like it's been forever since the government announced that it was going to put an end to all the extra fees being charged by landlords and letting agents that somehow, miraculously, make the prospect of renting even more depressing. The wheels of government turn about as slowly as a snail in a hamster wheel, but at long last we have a date. Say goodbye to those fees from 1st June.
This news was first announced back in November of 2017, with the goal of putting an end to excess fees in the private rental sector and to limit the amount of money people need to set aside as a deposit. Over a year, and a couple of redrafts, later and it's got through the House of Lords, with the news of the implementation date coming from Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth.
The main focus of this is that holding fees are limited to a single week's rent, and the full deposit cap has been lowered from the equivalent of six week's rent down to five - but only for properties with an annual rent of less than £50,000. Then again if you can afford £50,000 in rent I'm pretty sure you earn enough to afford a mortgage.
Not all the fees are gone, though. Landlords and letting agents can still charge for replacement keys (or another equivalent security device), late rent payments, a change in tenancy or early terminations, and fees associated with utilities, communication services, and council tax. The law also makes a change to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, to ensure letting transparency requirements also apply to online property 'portals' like Zoopla.
Any landlords caught charging illegal fees will be fined £5,000 for the first offence, and up to £30,000 if they do it again. That money gets collected by the local council, who are allowed to keep the money and use it for local housing enforcement.
Sadly this will only apply to tenancies signed after June, so if you have to move or renew in the next five months you may still have to pay those stupid charges. [NLA]