The Tenant Fees Act came into force on 1 June 2019, making it illegal for letting agents and landlords to charge certain fees in respect of a new residential tenancy.
A major change introduced by the legislation was the imposition of a cap on the amount of deposit the landlord could request. The cap is five weeks’ rent (for tenancies with an annual rent of up to £50,000) and six weeks’ rent (for annual rent exceeding £50,000).
As has been the law since 2007, those deposits must continue to be protected by the landlord / its agent through a government approved scheme.
If an existing tenancy (one entered into before 1 June 2de019) is later renewed by the parties for a further fixed term (for example a further 6 months or 1 year), then the cap will apply to that ‘new’ tenancy. Therefore landlords will need to be careful to ensure that the existing deposit which would ordinarily be expected to remain in the scheme, does not exceed the cap. If it exceeds the cap, the tenant will need to be reimbursed the excess.
A breach of the legislation will be considered a civil offence, and the Court has the power to impose a fine of up to £5,000 on the landlord.
At Stokes Partners LLP, we have specialist lawyers to help you in any landlord and tenant matters.