Tenants confused about the new letting fee ban
Latest statistics suggest that renters are finding the new law banning letting agents from charging admin fees confusing.
Banning expensive letting agent fees
The law, which came into effect in England on 1st June, made it illegal for letting agents to charge upfront fees for services such as viewings, credit checks, reference checks and setting up a tenancy. Agents found to be in breach of this face a fine of up to £5,000 for a first offence. The law comes after campaigners highlighted how unaffordable admin fees made renting as they added an average of between £100 and £300 on top of deposits and rent payments. Indeed, research by Citizens Advice had found that 42% of people had to borrow the money to pay the additional expense.
Confusion over existing tenancies
However, new figures show that people are confused by the ban. Citizen Advice have reported that enquiries about tenant fees rose by 54% in July, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has receive 68 enquiries and The Property Redress Scheme estimated the number of queries from tenants about the law had doubled. A TPO official indicated that the confusion stems from renters wanting to know whether or not the new law applied to their existing tenancies. For those who signed tenancies before 1st June can still face agents’ fees in their contract for the next 12 months, which includes renewal fees.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said that the rise in enquiries indicates that ‘tenants are becoming increasingly aware of their rights’. In Scotland, the letting agent fee ban has been in place since 2012 while Wales will apply the legislation in September of this year.
What letting agents can still charge for in the UK:
- Security deposit (capped at 5 weeks’ rent)
- Interest on late rent payments (14 days or more)
- Holding deposit
- Change of tenant fee
- Lost keys
For more information about renting or for help finding your perfect rental property, please feel free to get in touch with our expert estate agents at Chimneypots, one of the South’s leading estate agents covering Hampshire and Dorset. Simply contact us today on 01489 584298.