What to check for in your tenancy agreement

Deposits, charges and fees

A deposit is a sum of money you pay your landlord when your tenancy starts. They can sometimes use it at the end of your tenancy to:

  • repair anything you damaged and did not fix

  • get back any rent you did not pay

The deposit is your money. You should get it back unless the landlord has a reason to keep it.

Your tenancy contract should say:

  • how much deposit you paid

  • which deposit scheme your landlord has used to protect your money

Charges during your tenancy

Most fees and charges are banned. The law limits what you can be charged and when.

Check your agreement to see if it talks about charges.

Your landlord or agent can charge you for things like:

  • late rent

  • lost keys or fobs

  • changing your tenancy agreement

  • ending your tenancy early if it costs them money

It is okay for these things to be in your tenancy agreement.

Things in your agreement can only be enforced if they are what is called a fair term.

Late rent

Your landlord or agent can only charge you if you are 2 weeks late with your rent.

They can charge interest. This cannot be more than 3% above the Bank of England base rate.

Example: Fair term about late rent

"Any rent payments received 14 days or more in arrears will be subject to an interest payment of 3% APR above the Bank of England base rate."

The landlord can charge for late rent in this example.

Example: Unfair term about late rent

"Any rent not received on the due date will be subject to a 10% interest charge."

The landlord cannot charge for late rent in this example.

Lost keys or fobs

Your landlord can charge you for a new key or fob if it is in your agreement but they cannot charge you too much.

Ask for a receipt of the amount they spent if you think a charge is too high.

Changing your tenancy agreement

Your landlord can charge you if you want change something in your agreement. For example, if you want to keep a pet or take in a lodger.

The fee for each tenancy change must not be more than £50. The landlord cannot charge more than this unless they can show it is reasonable.

Ending your tenancy early

Your landlord or agent can charge a fee if you ask to end your tenancy early.

This cannot be more than:

  • the rent you would have paid if you stayed

  • any reasonable costs, such as marketing the property

You cannot be charged if you use a break clause to end your tenancy early.

Talk to your landlord or agent if you are not sure about charges. You can make a complaint if you are charged a banned fee by a letting agent.

Find out more about banned fees.

Last updated: 18 September 2023

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