Make sure you’re not breaching the new letting fee regulations

Being a private residential landlord has become more complex in recent years with a range of new regulations introduced such as Rent Smart Wales and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.

This month the Renting Homes (Wales) Bill came into force making it an offence to charge letting fees to housing tenants in the private sector in Wales, while the Tenant Fees Act , a similar regulation, came into force on 1 June in England.

With a myriad of rules and regulations you could be forgiven for being unsure as to what you can and cannot do as a private landlord without being penalised or fined for doing it wrong.

Luckily, our dedicated lettings team are on hand to offer some practical advice to private residential landlords.

Morris, Marshall and Poole with Norman Lloyd managed more than 1,000 properties throughout Powys, Ceredigion, Shropshire and Gwynedd, ensuring each and every one of our clients and their properties are legally compliant.

You can find out about our Letting Services here.

What do the new regulations mean?

In England the Tenant Fees Act came into force on 1 June 2019. The Renting Homes (Wales) Bill comes into force on 1 September 2019.

They are two different Acts with much the same laws.

As a result in England, let only landlords and letting agents must only

·      - Charge tenancy deposits exceeding the equivalent of five week’s rent unless the rent exceeds £50,000 at which it is capped at six weeks rent

·      - Request holding deposits capped at no more than one week’s rent

·       - Charge for a change to a tenancy capped to £50 unless additional costs were incurred and can be demonstrated

   What can you charge?

·       The only payments a landlord or lettings agent can charge to tenants for new contracts are:

·      - Rent

·      - A refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks rent (where the total annual rent is less than £50,000)

·      - A refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent

·      - Payments for utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax

·      - A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement

In Wales the Act will:

·      - Ban landlords from charging tenants for an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory, signing a contract, exit fees or renewing a tenancy

·      - Only allow landlords and letting agents to charge fees relating to specific items such as Council Tax, holding deposits, utilities and television licence

·      - Limit the level of security deposits

·      - Create a cap for holding deposits of one week’s rent

- Fixed penalty notices of up to £1,000 can be made against anyone requesting a banned payment.

- Rent Smart Wales licences could also not be renewed or granted.

What should you do?

If you are a private residential landlord we can work with you by managing your properties. We have fully trained and professional letting specialists who are Rent Smart Wales trained and registered.

We manage properties for hundreds of let only landlords throughout Powys, Ceredigion, Shropshire and Gwynedd, providing a professional and efficient service.

Call our lettings team on 01686 626160 for more information or visit one of our high street offices at Newtown, Llanidloes, Rhayader, Machynlleth, Aberystwyth, Tywyn, Welshpool, Oswestry or Bishop’s Castle.

Or visit our Lettings Services area here.