In 2019 The Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force for all new tenancies and on 1st June 2020 it now applies to all the vast majority of Assured Shorthold Tenancies with a few exceptions.
The Act sets out the ‘permitted payments’ relating to such tenancies which include:
- - rent
- - tenancy deposit
- - holding deposit
- - any payments relating to particular breaches of tenancy conditions
- - fees for changes to the tenancy
- - fees relating to early termination of a tenancy
- - payments such as council tax, utilities, and communication services, etc
With many of these ‘permitted payments’ there are caps to limit charges and to prevent misuse.
As ‘permitted payments’ are now clearly set out it is easier for tenants to understand what they are required to pay, for landlords and agents to stay on the right side of the regulations and for all parties be clear on what provisions in any agreement would result in a ‘prohibited’ and therefore unenforceable payment.
Enforcement is usually the responsibility of Trading Standards and financial penalties can be up to £5,000 for a single breach. A further breach within a five year period would be deemed a criminal offence and where proven can be accompanied by a banning order and unlimited fine. The Local Authority does have the alternative approach of a fine of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.
If you would like advice on your portfolio please contact your regional office:
Northumberland – 01665 511989
Tyne & Wear – 0191 274 7171
County Durham – 01833 690390
Yorkshire – 01677 425301