Landlords are you complying with the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
What is the effect of the act?
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 states that as of June 1st 2019 a landlord or letting agent can now only charge a fee for rent, utilities, council tax and certain late payment fees.
The Act also caps what a landlord or letting agent can charge for both refundable security and holding deposits and any changes sought by a landlord regarding an ongoing tenancy agreement.
If you are a landlord or letting agent that has entered into a tenancy agreement before June 1st 2019 that charges fees outside the scope of what is now lawful under the act you only have until 31st May 2020 to modify the existing tenancy or it will become unlawful.
Am I a Landlord / Letting agent who will be affected by the Act?
The ban will affect all assured shorthold tenancies, tenancy agreements for student accommodation and licenses to occupy housing in the private sector.
As most tenancies in the private sector are assured shorthold tenancies it is to be expected that the Act will give greater protection to many private sector tenants.
What are the Consequences if one of my tenancy agreements is deemed unlawful?
The Consequences for a landlord or letting agent that is found in breach of the Act could potentially be;
- A fine of up to £5000’s for a first-time breach of the Act.
- A possible criminal offence for a further breach up to 5 years after the initial breach which could result in banning order offence under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
- A possible £30,000 financial penalty by the local authority in lieu of a criminal offence.
- The right of a landlord to recover possession of a property via a section 21 notice could be suspended.
- A tenant would have the right to take a landlord before tribunal to reclaim unlawful fees and deposits.
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