Are you up to date with the upcoming residential letting changes?

From the 1st June 2019, far-reaching changes are coming into effect in the residential letting industry that affect both landlords and property management agents.

We’ve put together a summary of the changes so you can be well-prepared in advance.

Permitted charges

On 1st June 2019 the Tenant Fees Act 2019 will come into force. The Act prevents landlords and letting agencies from charging tenants unpermitted fees. Only permitted charges are allowed, such as those below (listed in in Schedule 1 of the Act):

  • Rent
  • Tenancy deposit
  • Holding deposit/reservation monies
  • Payment in the event of non-payment of rent
  • Payment for a new or amended tenancy
  • Payment at the end of a tenancy
  • Payment for council tax
  • Payment for utilities
  • Payment for a TV licence
  • Payment for any communication services

If a landlord or letting agent takes an unpermitted payment, they are legally obliged to return it within 28 days whether demanded or not.

Deposits/bonds

The Act also sets a limit on most residential tenancy deposits of the equivalent of five weeks’ rent (for tenancies with an annual rent of less than £50,000) or six weeks’ rent (for tenancies where the rent is £50,000 or higher). As from 1 June 2019, landlords and letting agents cannot request a tenancy deposit above this level.

If you are holding a deposit above this level on the 1st June 2019 you do not need to take any action to reduce the deposit unless the tenancy is renewed by way of a new fixed term agreement. If the tenancy is renewed and this means that the deposit is now above the five or six week cap you will need to refund the tenant the balance of the deposit you are holding that is above the  maximum amount.

If the tenancy continues after 1st June 2019 as a statutory periodic tenancy or a contractual periodic tenancy then you do not need to take any action to reduce the deposit.

The act does not apply to contractual tenancies, assured tenancies where there is no availability for a landlord to serve a Section 21  notice or were the property is not the only or principal home of the individual.

Penalties

If a landlord or letting agency does not comply with the new legislation, they are liable to pay a penalty. The penalty for a first offence is up to £5,000. If an individual commits a second offence within 5 years, they will face a penalty of up to £30,000. A second offence is a criminal offence, as well as a banning order offence.

The legislation governing the residential lettings industry is constantly changing, so  it is imperative you get good advice.

Emsleys Estate Agents’ Lettings and Property Management team are here to help. We can advise you on the action you need to take to comply with the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and we can offer a No Deposit Scheme which secures 8 weeks’ rent as a deposit.

Please call us on 0113 284 0136 to discuss your needs, whether to are looking to rent your property or already have a tenancy in place.

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Helen Jolly

Written by

Helen Jolly

Director (Lettings)

With a BSc in Estate Management, Helen has over 20 years’ experience in residential lettings and property management, from individual houses to property portfolios.

She set up Emsleys Estate Agents’ Lettings Service in 2007 and is responsible for assisting aspiring landlords or those with single or multiple properties to rent.