Landlords and agents must now prepare themselves for changes in the law regarding fees and payments, which will come into effect from Saturday 1 June this year.
Speaking to the Lords in then Houses of Parliament this week, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth said that following royal assent, the provisions of the Tenant Fees Bill will now come into force for all tenancies signed on or after the date.
The third and final reading comes after controversial amendments in the Bills Report Stage, which lowered the cap from six weeks to five weeks for properties with an annual rent of less than £50,000.
“We need to enable agents and landlords following Royal Assent to become compliant, but we intend for the provisions to come into force on June 1 2019,” he said.
“This would mean the ban on lettings fees would apply to all tenancies signed after this date.”
A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said:
“We believe these amendments strike a fair balance between improving affordability for tenants while ensuring that landlords and agents have the financial security they need.”
Mike Claxton, director of Norwich-based Norfolk Property Lettings & Management, is urging all the agency’s landlords to make themselves familiar with the changes.
“They can, of course, contact us at any time to see how the bill affects them and we will be only too happy to offer them advice,” he says.
“As an independent agency, we are able to provide this kind personal service and are always there to support our landlords and help them understand relevant legal complexities.”
The Tenant Fees Bill will prohibit landlords and letting agents from requiring certain payments to be made or certain other steps to be taken.
Among other changes, default fees will be limited to charges for replacement keys or a respective security device, as well as utilities, communication services, Council Tax and late rent payments.
Landlords and agents will only be able to charge for a change or early termination of a tenancy when requested by the tenant.
Holding deposits will be capped at no more than one week’s rent, applying to a maximum of one property only.
Local authorities will be able to retain the money raised through financial penalties with these funds reserved for future local housing enforcement.