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Welsh Government Faces Criticism Over Tenancy Fee Ban

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

From Sunday 1st The Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act 2019 will come into force, banning landlords and letting agents from charging fees to tenants.

Once effective, landlords and agents will no longer be able to charge fees to set up or renew a tenancy in the private rented sector.

In addition to banning letting fees, the Act will prevent the majority of other upfront fees payable by tenants.

Fixed penalty noticed of up to £1,000 will be issued against anyone charging banned payments, with landlords and letting agents only able to require payment for rent, security deposits, holding deposits, a payment in default, and payments in respect of council tax, utilities, a television licence, or communication services.

Although the Act outlines the types of payments agents and landlords will be permitted to charge, there are no details of any caps.

These will be introduced under additional legislation that the Welsh government hopes to finalise this year.

The staggered approach to introducing the new rules is in contrast to the Tenant Fees Act in England and is likely to create confusion amongst tenants, landlords and agents.

This has led to criticism from the NLA, with CEO Richard Lambert saying: "To introduce half the Act now and the other half at some later date is a shoddy piece of work."

"All of those affected by the Act will have followed the implementation of the Tenant Fees Act in England, which introduced a fee structure and caps at the same time as reducing the number of permitted fees."

"The Welsh government needs to ensure they communicate the differences between this Act and the Tenant Fees Act in England clearly, and work on the secondary legislation as quickly as possible to clear up this uncertainty."

"Landlords and letting agents are running businesses. They need to be able to plan for the future, just as tenants do."