Tenant Fees Act 2019
What to expect from my letting agent?
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on 1 June 2019. From that date it is illegal for all landlords and letting agents to charge fees to tenants apart from a small number of exemptions that are referred to as ‘permitted payments’.
Jezzards have already started to introduce changes over the past few months in light of the upcoming tenant fee ban but all changes will be effective for all tenancies starting on or after 20 May 2019. In light of the changes we have teamed up with ARLA Propertymark to let you know how the changes may affect you as a landlord or a tenant.
Where as a number of the costs previously were split between the landlord and the tenant, the costs for the tenancy setup will now be covered by the landlord, unless they are connected to a breach of the tenancy or one of the permitted payments below:
Holding deposit (Per tenancy) – One week’s rent
This is to reserve a property. Please Note: This will be withheld if any relevant person (including any guarantor(s) withdraw from the tenancy, fail a Right-to-Rent check, provide materially significant false or misleading information, or fail to sign their tenancy agreement (and/or Deed of Guarantee) within 15 calendar days (or other Deadline for Agreement as mutually agreed in writing).
Security deposit (Per tenancy. Rent under £50,000 per year)
Five week’s rent. This covers damages or defaults on the part of the tenant during the tenancy.
Interest at 0.75% above the Bank of England Base Rate from Rent Due Date until paid in order to pursue non-payment of rent. Please Note: This will not be levied until the rent is more than 14 days in arrears.
Lost keys or other security devices
Tenants are liable to the actual cost of replacing any lost key(s) or other security device(s). If the loss results in locks needing to be changed, the actual costs of a locksmith, new lock and replacement keys for the tenant, landlord any other persons requiring keys will be charged to the tenant.
Variation of contract (Tenants request)
£50 (inc. VAT) per agreed variation. To cover the costs associated with taking landlord’s instructions as well as the preparation and execution of new legal documents.
Early termination (Tenants request)
Should the tenant wish to leave their contract early, they shall be liable to the landlord’s costs in re-letting the property as well as all rent due under the tenancy until the start date of the replacement tenancy. These costs will be no more than the maximum amount of rent outstanding on the tenancy.
Frequently asked questions
What about pre-existing tenancies?
While agents cannot charge fees to tenants (other than permitted payments) on tenancies starting after 1 June 2019, agents are allowed to charge fees on pre-existing tenancies until 31 May 2020.
What is and isn’t a new tenancy?
The fee ban applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs). 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 31 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 five 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, within seven days, anything which is more than five weeks of the new rent.
Please note that are other amounts which can be charged for higher rents but as standard, Jezzards will always default to 5 weeks only unless confirmed otherwise in writing.
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.
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" I've dealt with some horrible agencies whilst renting in the past but I am glad we had Jezzards as our last. Didn't know that someone so professional and understanding and true to it's word existed in the business. I locked myself out once and they were there in 20 mins to assist. Heating stopped in the night and their out of hours assistance helped sort us out. Any problems or issues, were very promptly and effectively dealt with...I didn't even have to chase them. Our exit was quick, refunds took some time due to overlooked issues, which Victoria Jezzard looked into personally, and all done in 3 days. Dorathy was our handler and she was ace!! "Lorraine September 2019
" Gary Watson was our first point of contact. He reached out to us quickly and did everything he could to make sure things were dealt with smoothly- which we really appreciated. Since then every dealing with Jezzards has been efficient and no fuss- great. "Anonymous September 2019
" Jezzards give me peace of mind and support knowing that keeping my tenants happy and comfortable. In particular, their property management team (specifically, Dorothy) are always so open, clear, kind and accessible. I think they offer great value for money and I thoroughly recommend them. "Astan August 2019
" Everybody at Jezzards Estate Agents, Surbiton was very patient and sympathetic to our needs as non-residents looking to buy in a completely new area. We were provided with maps and advised on the layout of the town and nearby areas. We would particularly like to thank Gaj Murali for showing us round various properties in the pouring rain and taking a personal interest in helping us find the right property. Thank you Gaj. "Anonymous August 2019
" just like to say that once agin the service from Jezzards has been exceptional and special praise tio Dorothy whio handled my lettiing from start to finish perfectlty and made sure all parties were happy. great company to deal with and would recommend to others without hesitation. thank you once more "Rino August 2019
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