Since Saturday 1st June, fundamental changes have been made concerning the fees that can lawfully be charged to people seeking privately rented accommodation in England.
In summary the new rules:
- Outlaw many types of up-front tenant fees.
- Prevent a landlord taking a security deposit which exceeds five weeks’ rent.
- Prevent a landlord requiring a tenant to contract with a third party (preventing someone else receiving an unlawful payment on the landlord’s behalf).
Landlord and agents breaking the rules are subject to various sanctions. These include:
- Fines imposed by trading standards.
- A second breach within five years of a previous fine being a criminal offence, and
- The landlord being unable to serve a section 21 notice, if they have taken a prohibited payment.
Tenants, licensees and ‘relevant persons’ (acting on the occupier’s behalf or who guaranteed the rent) can also apply to the First Tier Tribunal to recover unlawfully charged fees.
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