Frequently asked questions
WHAT IS AND ISN’T A NEW TENANCY?
The fee ban applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), licences to occupy and tenancies of student accommodation. If your tenancy renews and a new contract is signed after 1 June 2019, then the letting agent can’t charge any further fees and has to repay your check-out fee if this was taken at the start of the tenancy. However, if the tenancy continues after the end of the fixed term, (what is known as a “periodic tenancy”) then your letting agent can continue charging fees until 31st May 2020 when they fall due under the terms of your tenancy agreement.
DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY FOR MY REFERENCE?
No, reference fees cover the costs of checks made by a letting agent to gauge whether a prospective tenant will be able to afford the rent throughout the tenancy. On new tenancies from 1 June 2019, the costs of these checks will be met by the landlord.
DOES THIS AFFECT MY SECURITY DEPOSIT?
Yes it does. For new tenancies signed on or after 1 June 2019, security deposits are capped at the equivalent of 5 weeks’ rent (or six weeks if the annual rent is over £50,000). If you have paid a higher deposit for your existing tenancy, when you sign a new contract, the letting agent will have to refund, anything which is more than five weeks of the new rent.
WHAT IF I WANT TO END MY TENANCY EARLY?
Where a tenant wants to leave their tenancy early, the agent is entitled to charge fees. If the tenancy agreement allows for one tenant to leave and another to take their place (a change of sharer) the agent can charge up to £50 (inc VAT) or their reasonable costs if higher. The agent will have to prove their costs are more than £50 if they charge more. If the tenant wants to leave altogether, the agent can charge their costs in re-letting the property up to the maximum rent still due under the tenancy.