Most rental deposits are limited to 5 weeks, and tenants are protected from unfair rents because they keep their hard-earned money in their pockets thanks to a new law that went into effect on June 1, 2019.
What Are Your Rights As a Tenant?
Unexpected fees and large deposits often make it impossible for people to buy their property and not be able to clearly explain it in advance. Many potential tenants do not know the actual cost of renting a property.
Rent laws now end unnecessary fees charged by landlords and brokers. Tenants across the UK are expected to save at least £240 million per year or up to £70 per household.
The law also limits the rental deposit that tenants pay at the beginning of their tenancy to an amount equal to the five-week rent. This gives people peace of mind that they don’t have to legally pay more than this to secure their property (total annual rent less than £50,000).
Community Minister Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
Thanks to the enforcement of the Tenant Fee Act, from today, tenants are no longer affected by the unreasonable costs of brokers or landlords.
- The law bans unnecessary rent and limits most deposits to a five-week rent. This will help tenants keep more of their hard-earned cash. In addition to the recent announcement that the industry is not fixing bug fixes, this will make rentals fairer and more transparent and make a housing market suitable for everyone.
- The law also prevents tenants from charging hundreds of pounds for administrative or renewal fees. Also, under the law’s standard fee regime, landlords and brokers can only reimburse the tenant for reasonable expenses incurred due to the loss of keys or other security devices and must provide proof of these expenses before collecting the fee. You can also charge a standard late fee.
- The law ensures that tenants who are charged an unfair fee can get their money back. The Transaction Standards or Tier 1 tribunal may require landlords and agents to repay prohibited payments or illegally held deposits within 7 to 14 days.
Putting these provisions together will help tenants reduce the initial costs they may incur upon lease renewal and termination.
The bill is part of a broad package of government reforms aimed at balancing the relationship between tenants and landlords in order to create a fairer, higher quality, and cheaper private rental market.
In April 2019, we announced a plan to prevent private owners from evicting tenants from their homes in a short time without good cause. We will discuss a new law that abolishes evictions under § 21, ending private owners who drive tenants out of their homes in just eight weeks.
In addition, it has introduced multiple powers for local authorities to take action against a small number of owners and agents renting inappropriate real estate. This includes a fixed fine of up to £30,000 and a ban on orders for the most serious offenders (aka for a lifetime).
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Ministers have also expanded compulsory licenses for apartment buildings and tightened regulations on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to improve the living conditions of apartment tenants. Private landlords can also request a rent refund of up to 12 months if the landlord does not take into account the health and safety risks of the home.