Ban on Lettings Fees to commence June 1st

Ban on Lettings Fees to commence June 1st

8:51 AM, 16th January 2019, About 3 years ago 65

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The Tenants Fees Bill 2017 – 2019, click here, has been confirmed by government to commence on June 1st this year. Bill sponsor Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (image right) announced the start date at the third reading in the House of Lords and said:

“It has been clear throughout that this is a Bill that will introduce important changes for the private rented sector. It is in all our interest to introduce this introduction as soon as possible.

“Implementation is subject to the parliamentary timetables and amendments need to be considered in the other place. We need to enable agents and landlords following Royal Assent to become compliant, but we intend for the provisions to come into force on June 1st 2019.

This would mean the ban on lettings fees would apply to all tenancies signed after this date.

Agents and landlords will only be able to collect rent and deposits from tenants with the exceptions of fees for:

  • A change or early termination of a tenancy when requested by the tenant
  • Utilities, communication services and Council Tax
  • Payments arising from Default fees limited to charges for replacement keys or a respective security device, and late rent payments only

Lord Bourne also confirmed that although landlords can charge for damages any amount recouped from a tenant can only put them back in the same position they were previously.

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark stated:

“This now gives agents the legal certainty they need to prepare for a post tenant fees ban world. To learn about the intricacies of the legislation, we encourage agents to come to our Regional Meetings over the next few weeks and of course our annual Conference, where ARLA Propertymark will be doing everything it can to help agents plan and prepare for the introduction of the Bill.”

James Davis, CEO of Upad and himself a portfolio landlord, comments:

“Having a firm date set for the Tenant Fee Ban to come in to effect feels like it’s been a very long time coming. However, now we know and it’s a little under 5 months away. This means that any landlord who has taken the ‘bury head in sand’ approach thus far, needs to act quickly.

“Ever since the ban was first announced in November 2016, headlines have focused on the threat that rents will rise, putting additional pressure on tenants and continuing to paint the landlord as the ‘bad guy’. This doesn’t need to be the case though. Most private landlords don’t, in fact, charge excessive upfront costs and whilst it would have been advisable to plan ahead before now, there’s still time to consider how else they can manage their costs.”


by Jim S

11:36 AM, 20th February 2019, About 2 years ago

So I have this morning received a request off my student tenant which is as follows:
Hi, Would it be possible to have the table and chairs removed from the kitchen?
Now they have 4 months left on the tenancy before they leave which means if I take the table and chairs out then in 4 months time I will be putting them back into the property. Ordinarily what I would say to the tenant is "pay me £40 and I will have my tradesmen take it away for you" but as of the 1st June I can no longer make this charge so how will I respond then?

by David Price

12:17 PM, 20th February 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jim S at 20/02/2019 - 11:36
Two words, the second of which is 'off'. Tell the tenant that he can arrange, at his own expense, to have the table removed and put into storage and then returned at the end of the tenancy.

by Ian Narbeth

13:02 PM, 20th February 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jim S at 20/02/2019 - 11:36Hi Jim
You can make the charge until the relevant provisions of the Act come into force. After that I would not risk it. The Act is totalitarian - "For the purposes of this Act a payment is a prohibited payment unless it is a permitted payment by virtue of Schedule 1". Under s1(1) "A landlord must not require a relevant person to make a prohibited payment to the landlord in connection with a tenancy of housing in England".
It is probably the case that the payment is "in connection with" the tenancy and so unless it is absolutely clear that the payment is within Schedule 1 (and the categories of permitted payments may be amended by the Secretary of State) it is prohibited.
The Act has thrown the baby out with the bathwater and your example, Jim, is a useful one. Once the Act is in force Landlords should take assume that they cannot charge for things like this. What would have been a simple helpful transaction now becomes a matter of possible criminal liability for the landlord.

by Jim S

13:10 PM, 20th February 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 20/02/2019 - 13:02
Hi Ian,
Yes I thought it was a good example to highlight the stupidity of the ban, both myself and the tenant will want to conduct a small transaction that suits us both but the Government won't let us!

by Ian Cognito

13:58 PM, 20th February 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 20/02/2019 - 12:17Good response David, save for the unnecessarily aggressive tone! Should also gently remind tenant that he will be liable for any damage.

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