Brixton Landlords: Does Letting Fees Ban Affect You?

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If you are a landlord, you know how challenging the market is. A lot of outsiders see rising rental fees and assume that landlords are making huge profits but of course, this is far from the full story. Having worked closely with many Brixton landlords, I know how difficult it is for landlords to meet the needs of their tenants while dealing with regulations and tax matters. There have been plenty of regulations for landlords to contend with, and there will be more to come next year, so it is best to be fully prepared. Therefore, Brixton landlords, does the letting fees ban affect you.

At the start of May, the Government published their Tenant Fees Bill and one aspect of this bill will leave landlords and letting agents unable to charge letting fees. The bill has been discussed for close to two years and now that this consultation period has concluded, it is likely that the bill will be introduced in 2019.

The deposit cap has been a hotly debated area

While there are many distinct aspects to consider with the bill, the matter of a deposit cap is hugely significant. When the issue was first discussed, it is believed the Government was happy to introduce a four-week deposit cap. This is not the case now with the Government announcing that a six-week deposit cap will be introduced.

There appears to be an agreed belief that this is acceptable for all components of the market. Groups representing tenants would prefer a lower cap, but they are happy that there is a cap in the first place. Groups representing landlords would prefer a higher cap, but they are happy because the cap could have been lower. Groups representing landlords suggested that a cap less than six-weeks would have led to some tenant groups being denied access to rental accommodation.

Key components of the Tenant Fees Bill include:

  • Holding deposits being capped at a maximum of one weeks’ rent
  • Security deposits being capped at a maximum of six weeks’ rent
  • Letting agents and landlords not being allowed to impose fees for the granting, continuation or renewal of a tenancy
  • There will be the creation of a civil offence with a fine up to a maximum level of £5,000 for an initial breach

Following on from the creation of a civil offence, there will also be a criminal offence created for individuals who have received a conviction or fine within the past five years. As an alternative to prosecution, a civil penalty of up to £30,000 could be imposed.

In addition to rent and deposits, the areas where a landlord or letting agent will be allowed to charge include:

  • Where a tenant has defaulted
  • If the tenant has incurred a cost, such as losing their key(s) and needing a replacement set
  • Where an early termination has taken place, initiated by a tenant
  • Where a change in tenancy has occurred and requested by a tenant
  • For bills relating to council tax, utilities or broadband/phone services

With the bill being introduced in 2019, there is time for Brixton landlords to familiarise themselves with the new regulations and make sure they comply. If you are looking for support with these matters, please contact me and I will be happy to help.

Matylda Nowak

CEO, Kings Accommodation

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