Hillingdon Labour welcome Tenant Fees Act – but says it does not go far enough

The Tenant Fees Act today received Royal Assent, a move that has been welcomed by the Hillingdon Labour Group.

The Act, formerly known as the Tenant Fees Bill, gives extra protections and rights to tenants in the private sector from bad practice by their landlords.

Key parts of the Act include banning default fees, except for replacing lost keys and late rent payments. This means that landlords are only able to charge for when they have genuinely had financial loss.

The Act also caps the amount that can be requested for a deposit, lowering it from 6 weeks’ worth of rent payments to 5 – a step that Hillingdon Labour Group have welcomed due to many private tenants being unable to find the cash to pay a large deposit before they have even moved into the property.

Another area being charged is in regards to holding deposists when a tenancy isn’t going ahead – this is being capped at no more than one week’s rent, and it has become law that only one holding deposit can be taken per property, preventing landlords and letting agents from cashing in on these fees. It is also now required of letting agents and landlords to set out in writing why a holding deposit is being kept within seven days of deciding not to go ahead with the tenancy, or they will have to refund the holding deposit.

Speaking on behalf of the Hillingdon Labour Group, Councillor Peter Curling said:

“The Tenant Fees Act goes a long way to close some of the gaps that exist in housing law, which can help prevent private renters from being financially exploited. Renting can often be seen as a race to the bottom as letting agents and landlords up fees simply because they can afford to as other landlords are doing it and the tenant has little choice.

 

“Whilst this Bill is welcome – we still have so much further to go. We remain committed to more genuinely affordable housing, more social housing, and innovative co-operative housing associations where residents have a genuine stake and say in how services are run. We’ll keep fighting for real and thorough change, whilst welcoming smaller scale changes that will benefit the experience of renting for many of our residents.”

Hillingdon Labour reminds residents that they can still be charged these unfair fees up until 31st May 2019, but if a landlord or letting agent tries to charge fees now prohibited under the Tenant Fees Act, they should contact Trading Standards.



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