Letting agents and fees

From 1st June 2019, most tenant fees are now banned. The ban on tenant fees also applied to guarantors. 

What can I still be charged for? 

For tenancies starting after the 1st June 2019, you can be charged for the following under most private tenancies (including assured shorthold):  

  1. Being more than 14 days late with rent. The ability for the landlord or agent to charge this must be mentioned in the tenancy agreement. It should not be charged at the more than the Bank of England base rate +3%. 
  2. Lost keys or fobs. You can be charged a reasonable amount for replacement (i.e. cost of production plus arrangement fee). The facility to recharge must be mentioned in your tenancy agreement. 

  3. Ending your tenancy within the fixed term. If you reach agreement that you can end your contract within the fixed term, the landlord or agent (not both) can charge the cost of any losses incurred. This will also apply if you exit the contract without giving proper notice. 

  4. Changing your tenancy. Should you wish to change a condition in your contract or assign it to somebody else, a maximum charge of £50 can be levied. To charge more than this amount, the landlord must be able to demonstrate why it is the cost is necessary and proportionate. 

  5. Tenancy renewal. You can be charged for renewing a tenancy started before 1st June 2019 if there is a clause stipulated in it which states that a charge may be levied. 

What can't I be charged for? 

You can no longer be charged for: 

  • References 

  • Administration 

  • Credit and immigration checks 

If you have paid a banned fee, your landlord cannot apply for repossession under a section 21 notice unless they refund you. 

Excluding fees, what can I still be charged for? 

It is still legal for a landlord or agent to ask for the following: 

  • A deposit (which must be protected)

  • A holding deposit 

  • Rent in advance 

Landlords and agents can add the cost of utilities and the Internet to your rent if they pay them. They are not permitted to make a profit from this. If you cause damage to your property, a landlord can make a claim against your deposit. 

I've been charged a banned fee. What should I do? 

Local authorities can fine landlords or agents who take a banned fee. 

If the agent is a member of a letting agent redress scheme , the scheme operator can tell their member to apologise and reimburse you. 

You can also apply directly to the First Tier Tribunal to have a fee paid back to you. The Tribunal can make an order for repayment if they are satisfied that a banned fee has been taken. 

I signed my agreement before 1st June 2019 - how does this apply to me? 

Landlords and agents may still charge fees for things such as reference checks and administrative charges. This ability ceased on 1st June 2020. There is no limit on these fees, but the landlord or agent must advertise what they charge and what it is used to cover on their website.