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We’ve known the tenant fees ban has been coming for a long time, agencies across England must now ensure that they are putting plans into action and taking all steps necessary to prepare.
Now that we have legislative certainty and know that the legislation will come into force on 1 June, the Government will prepare to publish more detailed guidance and that will give agents a better understanding as to how the ban should be practically implemented.
The Ban on Letting Agent Fees - England
Timeline of events:
12 February 2019
The Tenant Fees Bill was given Royal Assent, passing into law as the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
15 January 2019
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth announced that the ban on tenant fees will apply to all contracts entered into on or after 1 June 2019.
5 September 2018
The Tenant Fees Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons with minor amendments. The Bill was moved on to the legislative stages in the House of Lords the following day.
2 May 2018
The Tenant Fees Bill was introduced to Parliament by Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire MP. The Government also issued their official response to the HCLG Select Committee report on the draft Tenant Fees Bill.
Tenant Fees Act - Effective June 1st 2019
The Tenant Fees Act sets out the government’s approach to banning letting fees for tenants. The key measures of the Act include:
A fine of £5,000 for an initial breach of the ban with a criminal offence where a person has been fined or convicted of the same offence within the last 5 years. Financial penalties of up to £30,000 can be issued as an alternative to prosecution
Trading Standards will enforce the ban and will make provisions for tenants to be able to recover unlawfully charged fees via the First-tier Tribunal
Landlords are prevented from recovering possession of their property via the section 21 until they have repaid any unlawfully charged fees enabling the appointment of a lead enforcement authority in the lettings sector
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is amended to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements should apply to property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla
Local authorities are able to ring-fence any money raised for future local housing enforcement
Alongside rent and deposits, agents and landlords will only be permitted to charge tenants fees associated with:
Information sourced from Propertymark ARLA: https://www.arla.co.uk/lobbying/letting-agent-fees.aspx
If you are a Tenant and needing further information on the Tenant Fee Ban, please follow the below link:
McField Residential Limited - Estate Agents - Sales & Lettings are members of Propertymark. Details of our fees can be found on our 'Tenants' tab.