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Letting Agency fees

From 1 June 2019 most fees for tenants are banned. This applies to fees charged by landlords and agents, including online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. It 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.

After you move in, if you start or renew a tenancy from 1 June 2019, you can only be charged for:

  • rent, at the amount agreed in your tenancy agreement
  • late payment charges, and only if your tenancy agreement specifies a charge, and only at 3% APR above the Bank of England base rate
  • lost keys or fobs, and only if it is specified in your tenancy agreement, and only the actual and reasonable cost of a replacement.
  • ending your tenancy early, and no more than what it costs the landlord or agent to have you leave early
  • 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?

The council can fine landlords and agents up to £30,000 if they try to charge unlawful fees. If your landlord or agent has charged you an unlawful fee, you should report them following the process set out below.

We promise that within 28 days of receiving a report we will let you know what action we are taking. We will also help you get your money back.

To report an agent to the council’s Trading Standards team, 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.

Make sure you have the company’s name and address to hand before you call.

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. Depending on what we find out, we might take action to stop the agent from acting unfairly. For example we might educate the agent about the law or take legal action against them to stop them from trading completely.

We may also fine them: the council has powers to fine letting agents up to £5,000 for failing to display their fees correctly.

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

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