Have You Checked Yours? ASTs & The Tenants Fee Act 2019

On 01.06.19 the much anticipated Tenants Fees Act 2019 (TFA) was implemented to the relief of tenants nationwide.

The TFA introduces a cap on the deposits private tenants have to pay and bans almost all fees charged by landlords and their letting agents. The Government expects to save tenants across England at least £240 million a year!

Chris Fielding, head of Litigation & Dispute Resolution, commented that, "this legislation extends the rights and protections afforded to tenants across the nation. There has never been a greater need for landlords to ensure their agreements, procedures and practices comply with an increasingly complex landscape of regulation."

How Will The TFA Affect Tenants?

Essentially, the TFA bans all fees previously charged by a landlord or letting agent including admin fees, inventory fees, reference check fees, renewal fees and so on. If a fee is not expressly provided for in the TFA, it cannot be lawfully charged.

From 01.06.19, if a tenant enters or renews a tenancy agreement, the only fees they legitimately face are:

  • holding Deposits (but limited to one week);
  • rent;
  • deposit (capped at 5 or 6 weeks, depending on the level of annual rent);
  • payments relating to changes to the agreement or ending it early (when requested by the tenant);
  • fees for lost keys or fobs; and
  • fees for late payment of rent.

How will the TFA affect landlords?

If a tenancy agreement is entered after 01.06.19, a landlord cannot charge any fees (except those expressly provided for in the TFA).

For agreements entered into before 01.06.19, a landlord can continue to charge fees during a one-year transitional period, i.e. until 31.05.20. After this period, the provision in the agreement purporting to charge a banned fee becomes unenforceable.

The TFA introduces an obligation on landlords to repay any banned fees that were incorrectly charged and prohibits landlords from relying on the section 21 procedure for evictions until this occurs.

A landlord breaching the TFA faces fines of up to £5,000 in the first instance or £30,000 where there is evidence of repeat offending.

How Fosters Can Help

Whether you're a landlord wanting to update or check your tenancy agreement, or a tenant seeking to recover a banned fee, Fosters Solicitors can assist by offering a full legal service with competitive introductory payment options.

Our Dispute Resolution lawyers have a wealth of experience and are here to assist with your legal problem, whether you are simply looking for some initial advice or want help drafting or checking the validity of a tenancy agreement, call us on 01603 723708/723786 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the department will be in touch as soon as possible.

If you are a member of the Eastern Landlords Association (ELA) you can access specialist advice at this firm on the basis of significantly discounted rates. Please let us know when you make contact. If you are not a member of the ELA, you might want to consider joining (and we would be delighted to help you make contact).