The days of tenants being charged for references, credit checks, inventories and check-in or check-out reports are now a thing of the past.
June 1 marks the end of the transitional period in England that was set out in the 2019 Tenant Fees Act. Although the Act banned all administration fees relating to new tenancies, there was a transitional period up to May 31, 2020 where some fees could continue to be charged, if these were set out in tenancies that were agreed before the start of the new law in June 2019.
As of today, the only charges that can now be lawfully levied on tenants are for holding deposits, rent, tenancy deposits, default charges, early termination charges, tenancy amendments and utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council tax.
Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, a Government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme, said: “Today is an important date in the calendar for landlords and letting agents in England, as it means that the Tenant Fees Act is fully in force and the transitional period has ended.
“The implication for TDS is that we should no longer see deposit disputes where landlords or letting agents seek to make claims for things like unpaid check-in or check-out fees.”
The deposit cap of five weeks rent (or six weeks where rents are £50,000 pa or more) remains unchanged but where a deposit was above this cap prior to the 1st June 2019 and the tenancy has not been renewed, there is no requirement for the deposit to be reduced. This only applies if there is a new fixed term tenancy entered into, at which point the deposit must be within the cap.
TDS is the only not-for-profit tenancy deposit scheme in the UK, which means it continuously invests surpluses into raising industry standards with excellent service levels, quicker call response times, user-friendly technology and faster tenancy dispute resolutions.
Steve Harriott added that it was important to recognise that the position in Wales was different. Wales does not have a tenancy deposit cap and that there are some differences in the fees that can be charged to tenants in Wales. For example, fees can be charged in England to make an amendment to the tenancy agreement, but this is not allowed in Wales.
These differences are set out in a handy table on the TDS website at https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Fees-Ban-Matrix-England-v-Wales-A3.pdf.
In addition to its fees guidance, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme has an extensive online resource within its online Information lounge - https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/learn-more/information-tds-lounge/ - to help people learn more about the Tenant Fees Act and the deposit cap, including an instant deposit cap calculator to make sure deposits are set within the deposit cap regulations.