Tenant Fee Ban for England

12/5/20232 min read

Since June 1, 2019, landlords and agents have been prohibited from charging various fees for new tenancies in England, extending this ban to most existing tenancies from June 1, 2020. The Tenant Fees Ban encompasses a wide range of fees, allowing landlords and agents to only charge payments explicitly defined as permitted by legislation.

This guide serves as an overview to help you comprehend the fees that may be allowable and offers practical tips on navigating the legislation. Additionally, we provide document templates to assist in compliance with the fee ban.

Applicability of the Legislation:

The legislation applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), student accommodation, and licenses in England. However, it excludes company lets and non-assured tenancies.

Prohibited Fees:

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 (TFA) prohibits charges related to the grant, renewal, continuance, variation, assignment, novation, or termination of an assured shorthold tenancy or license agreement. This broad definition results in the default prohibition of nearly all fees under the TFA. It includes payments to third parties for services throughout the tenancy, specific job performance, and loans from third parties.

Examples of banned fees include charges for guarantor forms, credit checks, inventories, cleaning services, referencing, professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy (specific to England), property de-fleaing for allowing pets, admin charges, requirements to pay for an insurance provider, gardening services, and restrictions on rent levels.

Rent Level Restrictions:

Setting rent at a higher level for the initial part of the tenancy and subsequently lowering it is prohibited to prevent offsetting the fee ban. However, a consistently higher rent throughout the tenancy is permissible, such as charging more for tenants with pets.

Holding Deposits:

Holding deposits are limited to a maximum of one week's rent, and landlords have 15 days to make a decision once a holding deposit is taken. Refunds must be made within 7 days if the tenancy does not proceed, provided the applicant was truthful and timely in responding to information requests.

Security Deposits:

Security deposits are capped at five weeks' rent for tenancies with an annual rent below £50,000 in England and six weeks' rent for those with an annual rent of £50,000 or more.

Deposits Taken Before the Tenant Fees Act:

For deposits taken before the Tenant Fees Act came into effect, landlords are not required to immediately refund any excess amount above the cap if tenants remain on the same tenancy. However, the full deposit must be refunded at the end of the tenancy in the usual manner.

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