The Tenant Fee Ban came into effect just over a week ago (from 1st September 2019), and the Welsh Government has released a practical guide through Rent Smart Wales on how it affects landlords and letting agents.
The Tenant Fee Ban came into effect in England in June this year, though there is a key element that sets the Welsh ban apart. Though security deposits have been capped at 5 weeks’ rent for English tenancies, no cap has been introduced currently for Welsh tenancies.
Renting Homes (Fees)(Wales) Act 2019
The Renting Homes Act 2019 is the formal name for the Tenant Fee Ban in Wales. It prevents landlords and letting agents from charging tenants any fee that is prohibited. Prohibited fees include administration, referencing, check-in and check-out fees.
Holding deposits (taken to reserve a property) can still be taken, but are capped at 1 weeks’ rent. Payments for early termination of the tenancy are also permitted provided they’re agreed with the tenant.
New Welsh Tenancy Agreements
A new law to rewrite residential tenancies in Wales has now been delayed. We understood this law (called the Renting Homes Act 2016) would be coming into effect at the same time as the Tenant Fee Ban, but this is now not the case. No new date has yet been released for implementation.
Fixed Notice Penalties, Convictions, and Invalidating Section 21
Enforcement authorities can issue fixed penalty notices of £1,000 for any offences that breach the Tenant Fee Ban. They can also prosecute, and have a duty to report to Rent Smart Wales any notices or convictions served which could result in licences being revoked or not renewed.
Landlords should also note that Section 21 Notices will be deemed invalid if the Tenant Fee Ban has been breached.