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Home / News and Insights / Insights / Top 10 things you should know about the Tenant Fees Act 2019
  1. The Tenant Fees Act (TFA) came into force in England on 1 June 2019 and applied to new or renewed tenancy agreements signed on or after 1 June 2019.
  2. It bans landlords and agents from charging fees to tenants other than those expressly permitted.
  3. It applies to assured shorthold tenancies granted by private landlords, licence agreements and tenancies of student accommodation. The TFA does NOT apply to social housing tenants or leases with a term of longer than 21 years.
  4. As of 1 June 2020, it also applies to all private assured shorthold tenancies even those entered into pre-June 2019. (There will still be some differences in how the various rules apply depending on when the payment was taken / tenancy signed).
  5. What a landlord can charge:
    • rent and a tenancy deposit (maximum five weeks’ rent or six weeks’ if the rent is above £50,000 per annum);
    • a holding deposit of up to one weeks’ rent;
    • reimbursement of bills (utilities, council tax, internet fees, TV Licence fee) if costs are reasonable;
    • payment on certain default events for example late payment of rent, lost key replacement, breach of the tenancy if this is set out in the tenancy agreement;
    • early termination of tenancy fee; and
    • capped costs (£50) to cover a request from a tenant for assignment, variation, surrender etc.
  6. Should a landlord charge a fee that is not permitted, they will not be able to serve a valid section 21 notice and evict their tenant until the unlawful payment has been repaid (or, with the tenant’s consent, credited to their rent account or deposit).
  7. The court form N5B Claim form for seeking possession using the accelerated procedure has been amended to include a number of questions relating to the Act.
  8. A breach of the legislation will usually be a civil offence with a financial penalty of up to £5,000, but if a further breach is committed within five years this will be a criminal offence. The penalty for the criminal offence, which is a banning order offence under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, is an unlimited fine.
  9. Where an offence is committed, local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution. In such a case, local authorities will have discretion whether to prosecute or impose a financial penalty.
  10. A tenant can also bring a claim against their landlord to recover unlawfully charged fees.

For more information please contact Simon Painter, Aoife Murphy or your usual BDB Pitmans contact.

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