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Tenants fee act 2019 explained

Published: 02/06/2020

Tenant Fees Act 2019 applies to all tenancies 

As members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), we are regularly updated with what is happening across the market in the UK’s private rental sector.

The Tenants Fee Act of 2019 came into force on June 1st 2019. With very few exceptions, this Act prohibits the charging of fees to tenants, and there is also now a cap on deposits.

The initial transition period, with existing tenancies not falling under the new legislation, ended on May 31st 2020. Now the fees ban applies to all rentals, new and renewed, fixed term and periodic, regardless of the commencement date of the tenancy.

Long leases, non-housing Act tenancies (contractual), social housing tenants, company lets and licensed holiday occupations are the exceptions.

Breaching these regulations makes landlords and the letting agent, liable for hefty fines of up to £5,000 for the first breach and £30,000 for each additional violation.

Key points of the Tenant Fees Act 2019

Permitted payments

Payments/fees are now prohibited unless expressly allowed by The Tenant Fees Act. Landlords and their letting agents can't ask their tenants to make a payment for granting or renewing a tenancy or make any other charges except:

  • Rent
  • A capped, refundable Tenancy Deposit
  • A capped, refundable Holding Deposit
  • Payments in the event of a default
  • Payment on assignment, variation or novation of a tenancy
  • Payment on termination (surrender) of a tenancy
  • Payments of Council Tax
  • Payments for utilities (electricity, gas, water)
  • Fees for a TV license
  • Communication services (e.g. telephone line)
  • Internet, cable or satellite TV
  • Green Deal charge
Prohibited payments

Listed below are charges to tenants that are not permitted under the terms of the Act.

  • Application fees
  • Tenancy set up costs (tenancy agreement fees, Tenancy Deposit Scheme fees etc.)
  • Tenant referencing
  • Contract negotiation
  • Inventory check-in and check-out fees
  • Card payment fees
  • Professional cleaning
  • Landlords cannot charge higher rent in any one period, say for the first or any other month, to recover any of these costs.
Professional cleaning

Landlords can only charge for having the property cleaned to a ‘professional standard’ at the end of a tenancy, if it was at the start. Tenants are responsible for returning the property in the same condition that they found it, apart from the usual wear and tear. This is why an inventory at the start and end of a tenancy is essential.

Security deposits

Deposits are capped at five weeks’ rent but it goes up to six weeks rent if the rent is over £50,000. Further deposits for students and/or pets are not permitted. One deposit is allowed on one property, and on renewals.

Holding deposits

One week’s rent only can be taken as the holding deposit. It can only be retained if the applicant withdraws, if the tenant fails a 'Right to Rent' check, provides false or misleading information, or fails to take all reasonable steps to enter into a tenancy agreement within 15 days.

For more information about the new regulations, visit

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/tenant-fees-act

For further information, please click here to contact us
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