Letting agent fees for tenants

Most fees for tenants are banned from 1 June 2019. Find out what you can do if you've been charged a banned fee.

The tenant fees ban

Most fees charged by landlords and agents are banned from 1 June 2019. 

The ban covers most private tenancies, including assured shorthold tenancies, student housing and lodger agreements.

It applies to fees charged to tenants and their guarantors.

What you can be charged for

From 1 June 2019, if you start or renew a tenancy, you can only be charged fees in the following situations.

Late payment of rent

You can only be charged a late payment fee once you’re 14 days late with rent.

The late payment fee must be mentioned in your agreement and you can’t be charged more than 3% APR above the Bank of England base rate.

You can only be charged by either your landlord or agent – not both.

Lost keys or fobs

You can be charged the reasonable costs of a replacement if this is mentioned in your tenancy agreement.

Ending your tenancy early

Your landlord or agent can charge you if they agree to let you end your fixed term tenancy early or leave without giving notice. This can only be to cover any loss incurred by your landlord or your agent’s reasonable costs.

Changing or assigning your tenancy

You can be charged £50 if you want to change a term in your tenancy or assign it to someone else. The landlord can only charge above this if they can prove it cost them more.

Renewing your tenancy

You can only be charged for renewing your tenancy when your fixed term contract ends if you signed a tenancy agreement before 1 June 2019 which says you have to pay a renewal fee. 

You can't be charged to renew a tenancy unless this was stated in your previous contract.

What you can't be charged for

All other fees are banned. This includes fees for:

  • referencing
  • administration
  • credit and immigration checks

If you pay a banned fee to your landlord, they can’t give you a section 21 notice until they refund the fee.

Other costs of renting

You can still be asked to pay:

Your landlord can still charge you for utilities such as gas, electricity and water if they provide these. They can’t charge you more than they pay the supplier.

If you break a term in your contract, for example by causing damage, your landlord can still try and claim the costs back through the courts.

If you've been charged a banned fee

You can complain to:

Trading standards can fine a landlord or agent who has asked for a banned fee.

A redress scheme can investigate your complaint and tell the agent to apologise or compensate you.

If a landlord or agent breaks the rules more than once, the council can take them to court. They could be banned from renting out properties in the future.

Getting a fee back

You can apply to the First Tier Tribunal if you have paid a banned fee to your landlord or agent.

If the tribunal agrees that it was a banned fee they can order the landlord or agent to pay the money back.

Your council may be able to give advice on applying to the tribunal.

If you signed an agreement before 1 June 2019 

The ban on fees will not apply if you signed your tenancy agreement before this date even if your tenancy starts after this.  

Your landlord or agent will still be able to charge you fees until June 2020.

This includes charges for:

  • referencing or credit checks
  • admin costs for things like phone calls and postage

You can only be charged for renewing your tenancy after 1 June 2019 if an agreement signed before that date says you will have to pay a renewal fee.  

How much you can be charged

There is no limit on fees if you signed your agreement before 1 June 2019.

Letting agents must advertise their fees on their websites and in their offices. They must tell you:

  • the cost of each fee including VAT
  • what the fee covers

How to complain

You can complain to the agency if you disagree with the fees they are charging.

You can complain to a letting agent redress scheme if the fees are hidden or unclear and the agency doesn’t resolve the problem

Last updated 16 Sep 2019 | © Shelter

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