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Chelmsford Landlords – Tenant Fees Ban Extended

October 9th 2020
By: Intercounty
Chelmsford Landlords – Tenant Fees Ban Extended

We know landlords have a lot of regulations to contend with, and keeping in touch with regulations is a challenging part of being a landlord. You might not be aware of this, but landlords in England must comply with more than 150 regulations.

It isn’t easy to stay in touch with these regulations. The task is made even harder when you consider existing regulations are often updated or extended. At Intercounty, we work hard to ensure landlords remain up to date with regulations, and in Chelmsford, we are pleased to say we are here to assist you with all manner of letting matters.

If you have any questions about the lettings market, or you would like to arrange a property valuation for your rental property, please contact us today. We will also ensure you are fully informed regarding the Tenant Fees Ban.

The Tenant Fees Ban was introduced on 1st June 2019, but now, one year later on, it applies to existing tenancies and new tenancies. Landlords and rental properties which were unaffected in the first year should now review the Act to ensure they comply with regulations.

David Cox, the Chief Executive at ARLA Propertymark, said; “I think some agents will need a nudge to remind them that, in particular, they must examine their records to ensure they have not charged any advance check-out fees or any other advance fees in the past however long ago the money was taken. Agents have to remember that any fees taken in advance previously – and entirely lawfully at the time – have now become prohibited payments this morning, and have to be returned.”

What can landlords and agents no longer charge for?

You might need to review your working practices as many fees a landlord could impose are no longer permissible. We can talk you through this issue, but here is a quick guide of matters that landlords can no longer charge for:

  • Property viewings

  • Reference checks

  • Credit checks

  • Insurance policies

  • Guarantor requests

  • Fees to cover administrative work

  • Gardening services

What is the penalty for landlords who breach the laws?

A breach of the Tenant Fees ban can result in a penalty of up to £5,000. If a landlord breaches the ban regularly, they can receive an unlimited fan and face criminal charges.

What can landlords and letting agents still charge for?

While there are many services that landlords cannot charge for, there are still things you can charge a fee for. There are caps in place for some of these charges, and many will require you to provide a receipt, proving you are not profiting from these charges.

We are more than happy to discuss this matter in more detail, but if you are looking for a quick list to check, here are elements landlords can still charge for.

  • Holding deposits

  • Deposits

  • A fee when there is a change in tenancy agreement

  • Fees associated with the early termination of the tenancy

  • Utility bills

  • TV licence payments

  • Council tax

  • Interest fees for late rental payments

  • Fees covering reasonable costs when replacing keys or security devices

Which fees have been capped?

  • Contract changes have been capped at £50

  • If a tenant leaves the rental property early, the cap stands at the amount of rent which would have been due until the end of the tenancy

  • Late payments have been capped at 3% above the Bank of England base rate for every day the payment is late, assuming late payment charges are contained within the contract

  • The deposit has been capped at five weeks’ worth of rent when the annual rent is up to £50,000; and capped at six weeks’ worth of rent when the annual rent is higher

  • With respect to holding fees, the cap is now at one week’s rent, and this sum must be refunded (or put towards a rental payment or tenancy deposit) when the agreement has been signed

For all letting enquiries in Chelmsford, please feel free to call us on 01245 347040 or why not email us at chelmsford@intercounty.co.uk. With considerable experience in the local letting market, and free valuation services, we look forward to helping you make an informed decision in the Chelmsford rental sector.