What Can They Charge You as a Tenant?
With the introduction of the Tenants Fees Bill in June 2019, it is illegal for letting agents and landlords to charge what they want to renters. What exactly changed with the new law?
In reality, most fees that were charged to tenants are now banned. However, people may find it confusing to figure out what they have to pay exactly. Below you can find a list of all the legal and illegal charges you can expect.
Which Fees are Legal?
- It is legal for the landlords to charge you for the rent that is stated in the tenancy agreement.
- The landlord can ask for a refundable tenancy deposit. Furthermore, the deposit cannot be bigger than the equivalent of four weeks rent.
- All bills associated with the maintenance and running of the property, including council tax to energy.
- The landlord can charge you for changes to the contract that you request (no more than £50).
- You can be charged for late rent fees with interest rates that cannot go over 3%.
- Finally, the landlord can charge you for repairs. However, the bill must be set at a reasonable price with the evidence of the cost provided.
Which Fees are Illegal?
Before the introduction of the Tenants Fees Bill, there were no regulations concerning what, you can be charged as a tenant. It is important to have in mind that your landlord has to respect the new law even if your contract was made before June 2019. That is, they cannot continue charging you for the following things even if they are in your contract.
- The landlord cannot charge you administration fees between £300 to £350. These fees include the price for drawing up the contract, making you a copy, and other administrative fees.
- You also do not have to pay for the reference check, this was between £75 and £100.
- If the landlord wants to do a credit check they cannot charge you for this.
- The landlord cannot charge you for the renewal of the contract at the end of your tenancy agreement.
- Finally, you cannot be charged for the check-out fee.
When you add up all the potential costs from this list the figure is not small. Also, consider that you have to pay for this every time you move. Furthermore, most people living in rented accommodation do not rank high on the wealth ladder. Each additional charge just contributes to the financial strain these people live under.
What if My Landlord Continues to Charge me?
Regardless, some landlords will want to squeeze every penny they can and, in such circumstances, the best thing is to be informed. Whether on purpose or unknowingly, if you are charged with any of the above-mentioned fees the landlord has 28 days to return the money to you. Also, they may get a £5,000 fine for a first offense.
After being charged with one of the banned fees you can report your landlord or agent to trading standards. Furthermore, if they break the same rules several times they can be prosecuted and banned from renting properties.