The Tenant Fees Act 2019 (which came into force on 01 June 2019) provided a transition period of 12 months for tenancies which started before June 2019, this ends 31 May 2020. This means that any tenancy clauses in existing contracts that charge fees will not be enforceable after this date.
Any breach of the ban will incur a penalty of up to £5,000.00. Further breaches can result in a criminal offence and unlimited fines.
|Check-out fees – Letting agents should be aware that tenants on existing contracts which involved paying check-out fees up front, these become Prohibited Payments as of 1 June 2020. Agents will have 28 days in which to repay these fees to tenants or they will be in breach of the legislation.|
End of the transition period – During the transition period fees written into existing contracts could continue to be charged. However, with the 12-month transition period now ending from 1 June 2020, the ban applies to all tenancies (both Fixed Term and Periodic) regardless of when the tenancy started.
Tenancy Deposits – The Act set a cap (five or six weeks rent dependent on the amount of rent paid annually) for how much could be charged as a security deposit on a tenancy. This will apply to all relevant tenancies (ASTs and Licenses to occupy) from 1 June 2020.Agents do not need to immediately refund any part of an existing Tenancy Deposit that exceeds the cap of five or six weeks’ rent and can hold this for the duration of the existing tenancy. However, where a tenant renews their tenancy by signing a new Fixed Term agreement on or after 1 June 2019, any amount of their existing deposit which exceeds the applicable five- or six-week limit must be refunded to ensure the new tenancy complies with the tenancy deposit cap. Agents should liaise with the Tenancy Deposit schemes when dealing with calculations.
Section 21 – A Section 21 notice cannot be issued in relation to the tenancy if Prohibited Payments or Holding Deposits need to be repaid.
For detailed information on the Tenant Fees Act and what it means for landlords;