A ban on fees charged to private tenants from letting agencies and/or landlords is now just a week away with a start date of 1st June 2019 after it passed through Parliament earlier this year.
From that date charges for numerous administrative tasks often running to around £500 are banned. Deposits will be capped at five weeks instead of the normal six.
With the number of private tenants now touching five million and the proportion of those in this tenure doubling from 1998 to 2018 this law change will be felt on a wide scale.
We’ll have to see impacts upon rents, though previous changes which were apparently going to push up rents such as Stamp Duty and Section 21 tax changes (and flagged up by landlords and letting agents as harming renters) do NOT appear to have done so. Rents are pretty much flat according to the ONS in recent years with London up 0.5% on a year ago.
House prices are also stable in parts of the country and falling in places including London.
Increased regulation from local authorities was also supposed to increase rents yet evidence is so far scant.
As we saw before as each change took hold, agents and landlords are again claiming drastic changes will occur with this latest change. Much of the media have given airspace to this line once again, if they cover this at all.
Not all the media has covered it. For a law change that impacts millions of people and offers each renter savings in the area of hundreds of pounds it’s quite bizarre that the BBC have not reported the law prominently since it passed Parliament in January. They have given far more coverage to similar changes in Wales coming this September.
The Beeb may cover in depth when changes are introduced on 1st June, but even now its extremely useful for tenants to be aware and plan renewal or move dates.
If you are looking to move and can wait a few weeks it’s well worth doing so, or haggling with agents as chances are they will not find a replacement tenant quickly enough.
If you are are existing tenant renewal fees are still liable until June 1st 2020 so renewing now would mean fees this year then next year, yet wait to renew in June and no fees will be due next year.
Letting agents or landlords charging fees after 1st June will be liable to a £5,000 fine for the first offence. A follow up office is a criminal act with unlimited fines.