Letting fees: Households to save hundreds of pounds as ban on rip-off charges introduced

Renters can no longer be charged for looking around a property or setting up a tenancy

Ben Chapman
Saturday 01 June 2019 12:03
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Letting fees: Households to save hundreds of pounds as ban on rip-off charges introduced

Millions of households could be saved hundreds of pounds in rip-off letting agent fees which have been banned under plans to help renters.

Private renters will no longer have to pay letting agent fees as the Tenant Fees Act comes into effect today.

Charities have hailed the move as a "win for renters" who can no longer be charged fees for looking around a property or setting up a tenancy.

Agents had levied charges which renters have little option but to accept for services such as for referencing, credit checks and for checking out of a property.

Private renters in England have been paying £13m a month in letting fees, and have paid out a total of £234m since the government committed to banning them in November 2017, according to Citizens Advice.

Chief executive Gillian Guy said: “The end of these uncompetitive and unfair letting fees is a real win for renters.

“The new law means families and other renters don't have to hand over hundreds of pounds every time they move home.

“We look forward to working with the Government to further strengthen the hand of renters in a market where they have little bargaining power.”

Under the new rules, tenants will be able to see, at a glance, what a given property will cost them in the advertised rent with no hidden costs.

Landlords will be responsible for paying for the service, which will help to ensure that the fees charged reflect the real economic value of what is being provided, the government said.

It is hoped this will sharpen letting agents’ incentive to compete for landlords’ business.

As well as scrapping the letting agent fees, Citizens Advice had also urged legislators to reduce the amount of money required for a deposit from six weeks' rent to four weeks.

The final Bill compromised on a deposit worth five weeks' rent.

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