Letting agent fees for tenants

Most tenancy related fees are now banned. Find out what to do if you've been charged a banned fee.

Which fees are banned?

The ban came in on 1 June 2019 for most private tenancies starting on or after that date.

From 1 June 2020, it applies regardless of when your tenancy started.

The ban covers assured shorthold tenants, student lettings and lodgers living with a private landlord.

You can't be charged for things like:

  • references
  • administration
  • credit and immigration checks
  • renewing your tenancy when your fixed term contract ends

It covers fees charged to tenants and their guarantors.

If you've been charged a banned fee

Your landlord can't give you a section 21 notice if they've charged a banned fee unless they refund your money. This won't apply if it was an agent who charged the fee.

Report it to trading standards

Trading standards can investigate and fine your landlord or agent if they charge a banned fee.

If they break the rules more than once, they could be prosecuted by the council and banned from renting out properties in the future.

Find your local trading standards office on GOV.UK

Complain to a letting agent redress scheme

All agents must belong to a letting agent redress scheme.

You can complain to the redress scheme. The scheme can investigate and tell the agent to compensate you or apologise.

Get the fee back through a tribunal

If the landlord or agent don't refund the fee, you can apply to the first tier tribunal to get your money back.

Trading standard can advise or assist with the process.

What you can still be charged for

Fees can only be charged in the following situations.

Late rent payments 

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 tenancy early or leave without notice. This can only cover loss incurred by your landlord or your agent’s reasonable costs.

Changing or transferring your tenancy

You can be charged up to £50 to change a term in your tenancy or transfer it to someone else. This includes the situation where you find a replacement tenant who then signs a new agreement with landlord. 

You can only be charged more than £50 if the landlord can show the change costs them more than this.

Other costs of renting

There are limits on how much you can be charged for a:

There's no limit on how much rent in advance a landlord can ask for but it's illegal to disguise extra fees by calling it rent in advance. 

Your landlord can still charge you 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.


Last updated 29 May 2020 | © Shelter

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