Tenants fees banned thanks to new law

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Charges for reference and credit checks have been abolished and caps on how much landlords and agents can ask for as a security deposit and rent in advance have been introduced.

Residents in Tower Hamlets are being urged to familiarise themselves with changes to the law covering letting agents fees.

It is now illegal for agents to charge most fees on new and renewed tenancies.

Charges for reference and credit checks have been abolished and caps on how much landlords and agents can ask for as a security deposit and rent in advance have been introduced.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The number of privately rented homes in the borough has grown massively in recent years and we’ve seen too many examples of tenants being charged rip-off fees by unscrupulous agents. 

“I welcome this change in the law which I called for and would urge all those in private rented accommodation to visit our website where they can learn more about their rights and how to exercise them.”

Tenants in the borough are already better protected than those in other parts of London thanks to the Tower Hamlets Private Renters Charter.

Launched in 2017, in response to concerns about how private renters were being treated, the charter sets out the standard of service that tenants can expect from their agents and landlords. This includes advice on rent increases, repairs, maintenance and safety at home.

It is backed by renters groups, professional landlord associations and advice agencies. The council is working together with these partners to drive out landlords and agents who don’t meet the standards.

A number of registration schemes are also in place to offer better protection to tenants:

• Agents must be registered with an independent body to handle complaints.

• Landlords of properties in Whitechapel, Weavers, Spitalfields and Banglatown must be registered with the council.

• All properties that are shared between multiple tenants – often referred to as houses in multiple occupation – must now be registered too. 

Councillor Sirajul Islam, Deputy Mayor for Housing said: “With our borough set to be one of the fastest growing in the country in the next decade, it is vital we can help provide affordable good quality housing for residents.

“We work proactively with agents and landlords to ensure accommodation meets the standards in our charter and this new change to the Tenant Fees Act is another positive step for tenants.”

Residents can find out more at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/NoMoreFees
Posted on Monday 10th June 2019