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Letting Agency fees

Most tenant fees charged by landlords and agents are now banned. 


 

From 1 June 2019 most fees for tenants are banned. This applies to both landlords and agents – including online property portals. The ban applies to most private tenancies, including assured shorthold tenancies, student housing and lodger agreements. The ban includes any fees for references, credit checks, check-in, and administration. 

Before you move in, you can only be asked to pay:

  • a holding deposit equivalent to no more than a week’s rent, and only with clear rules about how you get it back
  • a tenancy deposit equivalent to no more than five weeks’ rent – and your landlord must register it with a deposit protection agency within 30 days
  • rent in advance

Any other fee is banned.

From 1 June 2019, if you start or renew a tenancy, you can only be charged for:

  • rent, at the amount agreed in your tenancy agreement
  • late payment of rent, and only if your tenancy agreement specifies a charge.  You can’t be charged more than 3 per cent APR above the Bank of England base rate
  • lost keys or fobs, and only if it is specified in your tenancy agreement.  You can only be charged the reasonable costs of a replacement
  • ending your tenancy early - and no more than what it costs the landlord or agent.
  • Changing or assigning your tenancy – and no more than £50, unless they can prove it cost them more.

If you have paid a banned fee to your landlord they can’t evict you using a section 21 notice until the money is repaid.

The council has powers to fine landlords and agents up to £5,000 the first time they charge unlawful fees. If they do it again, it becomes a criminal offence with fines of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution. We will also help you recover your money.

For further information about your rights when dealing with letting agents please see Shelter’s website. 

Action taken

What if a landlord or agent charges you an unlawful fee?

If your landlord or agent charges you an unlawful fee, please try to keep evidence and report them to Trading Standards. We promise that within 28 days of receiving a report we will let you know what action we are taking.

The council has powers to fine landlords and agents up to £5,000 the first time they charge unlawful fees. If they do it again, it becomes a criminal offence and the council can either prosecute them or issue a fine of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.

If landlords or agents are convicted of an offence under the ban, they can be banned from trading.

We will also help you get your money back.

To report an agent to the council’s Trading Standards team, you just call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline and tell them you want to report a letting agent to Tower Hamlets Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards if it's appropriate. 

Citizens Advice consumer helpline
Telephone: 03454 04 05 06
Textphone: 18001 03454 04 05 06

Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Closed on bank holidays.

Calls to the helpline cost up to 9p per minute from a landline. If you're calling from a mobile, it'll cost between 3p and 40p per minute - if you have inclusive minutes, it's the same as calling a landline. Find out more about call charges.

An adviser will answer your call as soon as possible, usually within a few minutes. Once you're speaking to an adviser your call should take an average of 8 to 10 minutes.

Be prepared to tell the adviser details of the problem and the company’s name and address.

You can also use an online form or write to the consumer helpline - make sure you mention that you want to report a trader to Trading Standards. 

Trading Standards might contact you for more information and evidence. 

Find out if your landlord or agent has been convicted of housing offences.