NEW LEGISLATION WILL CRACK DOWN ON UNFAIR TENANT FEES, HARRIS LAMB WARNS LANDLORDS

New legislation has come into force which is set to impact on anyone letting a residential property to tenants, Harris Lamb has warned.

Tina Cannon, Residential Property Manager for the business, said that the Tenant Fees Act, which became law on June 1st, will crack down on exactly what landlords, or letting agents acting on their behalf, are allowed to charge tenants for, and that many private landlords need to be aware of the changes.

The new legislation focuses on a host of issues including how much landlords are allowed to charge for both security and holding deposits, tenancy renewals, interest on late payments, and for initial credit checks.

Tina said: “The change in the law came into effect on 1st June 2019, so  landlords, agents and tenants need to fully understand what they are allowed to charge for and where they will face fines if they are in breach of the law moving forward.

“While the majority of private landlords let their rental properties via an agent, there are plenty of people managing private rentals themselves, who could find themselves in breach of the new terms if they don’t ensure they’re compliant.

“The new Act essentially makes a number of common-place, and pretty immoral, practices illegal – a credit check is a routine part of any financial contract and one that a tenant can  no longer be charged for, for example, and there are other charges which have legitimately been applied previously, such as late rent charges, which landlords are no longer able to do, which could have an impact.

While Harris Lamb manages a number of residential properties throughout the UK on behalf of its clients, many landlords let homes with no agent support.

Tina added: “While that is perfectly fine, providing financial instructions regarding the holding of deposits and so on are adhered to, it is generally more difficult for self-operating landlords to stay abreast of changes of this nature as they’re often not accredited to and protected by professional regulatory body such as  ARLA Propertymark.

“While any tenant renting a property would be wise to read up on the changes for themselves to ensure that their own landlords are operating within the law and that they’re not being charged fees which they’re no longer required to pay, our chief concern is that all landlords, whether they’re represented by an agent or not, know about these changes and make sure they comply,” she said.

For further information on the full legislation, or for advice and support in letting residential properties, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tenant-fees-act-2019-guidance  or contact Tina on 0121 213 6024 or at tina.cannon@harrislamb.com

Pic credit: iStock/glegorly