The Undesirable Consequences of the

Tenant Fees Act 2019 for Landlords

 

You may have heard of all the hype surrounding banning tenant fees payable to agents for some time now. It came about by a combination of misinformation about tenant fees and many corporate agencies charging absurdly high tenant fees. Couple this with landlord and agent bashing by the likes of Shelter and the Government’s desire to win over Generation Rent and the result is the Tenant Fees Act 2019 which goes way beyond simply banning tenant fees and has consequences for all landlords and tenancies.

 

We’ve read the entire Act of 43 pages and 59-page guidance and here’s the lowdown:

 

  • Tenants cannot be charged any fees – the question then is who now pays for referencing, checks and all the work that goes into setting up a tenancy. Management fees don’t cover this, and the costs were generally absorbed by taking tenant fees. Will tenants apply for multiple properties as they don’t have to pay a fee?

 

  • A maximum of 5 weeks rent can be taken as a deposit. No longer can a risk-based approach be taken where, for example, international tenants, where normally required to pay a deposit of 8 weeks rent. Anyone who allowed pets would also ask for a higher deposit, which is now not also allowed. To make matter worse, any tenant who renews after 31 May 2019, must have a deposit over 5 weeks, paid back!

 

  • Tenants can no longer be made to pay for third party contractors. For example, it is a condition of our tenancies that tenants must have tenant liability insurance. This will now be banned.

 

  • The only thing you can then charge for is the actual costs of a tenant losing their key or security device.

 

  • Tenants can no longer be threatened with a fee for breaches of the tenancy agreement such as smoking.

 

  • Tenants no longer be charged for a contractor call out fee when it is their fault! (a deposit claim can be made)

 

And the worse one…tenants can no longer be charged late payment rent reminders. This was a huge deterrent. Tenants now have the liberty of paying rent up to 14 days late or even more as the consequences for them to do so is next to nothing as only interest can be charged at 3% above the Bank of England base rate which in many cases is a mere pence and pounds! It is shocking that the legislators have allowed this as it is effectively allowing tenants to pay rent late without any practical deterrent or consequence whatsoever!

This all applies to landlords as well as agents.

The Act is predicted to have many consequences on the industry when coupled with the new additional legislation over the last 24 months.

Watch this space!

 

 

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