News

The Ban on Tenant Fees – England

On 12 February 2019, the Tenant Fees Act was passed into law. Announced in the Autumn Statement on 23 November 2016, the ban on tenant fees was introduced to Parliament in May 2018 as the Tenant Fees Bill.

In January, the Housing Minister in the House of Lords, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth made a statement revealing that from 1 June 2019, all new and renewed tenancies will come under the scope of the new ban. All existing tenancies will be brought under the new rules from 1 June 2020.

“Implementation is, of course, subject to parliamentary timetables, and amendments we have made need to be considered in the other place. We also need to allow a period of time following Royal Assent to enable agents and landlords to become compliant with the new legislation. We, therefore, intend for the provisions of this Bill to come into force on 1 June 2019. This would mean that the ban on letting fees would apply to all new tenancies signed on or after this date.” Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Tenant Fees Bill, Third Reading House of Lords 15 January 2019

Tenant Fees Act

The Tenant Fees Act sets out the Government’s approach to banning letting fees for tenants. The key measures of the Act include:

  • Tenancy Deposits must not exceed the equivalent of five weeks’ rent (unless the annual rent exceeds £50,000 in which case deposits are capped at six weeks’ rent).
  • Holding Deposits will be capped at no more than one week’s rent.
  • The amount that can be charged for a change to a tenancy will be capped at £50 unless the landlord demonstrates that greater costs were incurred.
  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is amended to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements should apply to third-party websites.

Alongside rent and deposits, agents and landlords will only be permitted to charge tenants fees associated with:

  • A change or early termination of a tenancy when requested by the tenant.
  • Utilities, communication services and Council Tax.
  • Payments arising from a default by the tenant where they have had to replace keys or a respective security device, or a charge for late rent payment (not exceeding 3% above the bank of England base rate).

A breach of the fees ban will be a civil offence with a financial penalty of up to £5,000.

❗️ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update ❗️

In line with the HM Governments advice avoiding essential contact, we’ve got a number of staff in isolation so therefore planning to work from home in the near future.

This means the office may close in the near future but we remain working from home for those of our team who are able.

Important Information:
Exchanged and due to complete?
Do not worry. Your nominated contact will be on hand still, and on completion day, arrangements will be made for keys to be dropped off/collected using a safe method but avoiding face to face contact.

Viewed a property and wish to place an offer?
Contact details below and a member of staff will get in touch with you.

Wishing to arrange a property viewing or valuation?
Contact details below and a member of staff will happily take your details and assist.

A tenant moving into a property?
Your nominated contact will be in contact with you to discuss a safe method collecting keys for a smooth handover but avoiding face to face contact.

A tenant requiring maintenance?
E-mail lettings@austinhawk.co.uk and a member of staff will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Government confirm complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters
For any tenants worrying about paying their rent due to the impact of Covid-19 please contact us at your earliest convenience by email to lettings@austinhawk.co.uk , to discuss a plan of action.

The government announced yesterday a radical package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus. As a result, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.

Emergency legislation will be taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation needs to be concerned about the threat of eviction.

Recognising the additional pressures the virus may put on landlords, the government have confirmed that the three month mortgage payment holiday announced yesterday will be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus. This will alleviate the pressure on landlords, who will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves, and will mean no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.

At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/complete-ban-on-evictions-and-additional-protection-for-renters

Enquiries:
Sales: info@austinhawk.co.uk
Lettings: lettings@austinhawk.co.uk
Lettings emergencies only: Call 01264 350508 and listen to the automated voicemail providing the telephone number should you have a severe emergency but contractors will be reluctant to work themselves so please bear this in mind.

Stay safe

From all @ Austin Hawk.