The Act restricts landlords and letting agents from charging certain fees to tenants, including administration fees relating to tenant references, credit checks and inventories. Permitted tenant fees under the Act are limited to rent, tenancy deposits, holding deposits and some fees relating to utilities, changing tenancies, early termination, and late rent payments.
It also imposes a cap on tenancy deposits, restricting landlords from taking a deposit of more than five weeks' rent for tenancies with an annual rent of less than £50,000, and six weeks' rent for tenancies with an annual rent of £50,000 or more.
A cap on holding deposits restricts landlords from taking a deposit of more than one week's rent. There are also new rules relating to deadlines for the repayment of holding deposits to tenants, and the cases in which a landlord can keep a holding deposit from a tenant. This includes where the tenant provides false or misleading information to the landlord before entering into the tenancy, or where the tenant decides not to enter the tenancy agreement.
Fines of up to £30,000 can be imposed on landlords for charging prohibited fees, along with criminal convictions for those found to be repeatedly charging prohibited fees.
Landlords should review the fees that they are charging to tenants, and their deposit-taking arrangements, to ensure that they are compliant with the provisions of the Act.