Welsh tenant fees ban law given Royal Assent and will go live on September 1st
Legislation that will bring in a tenant fees ban in Wales has been given Royal Assent and will become law on 1st September.
The legislation is very similar to the English version due to go live in 12 days’ time, restricting the ‘permitted payments’ that landlords and letting agents in Wales can charge tenants. These include rent, a security deposit, holding deposit, default fees, utilities, council tax, television licence and for communication services.
Unlike the English legislation, the Welsh law does not specify a cap on holding deposits or default fees. “This legislation brings clarity which will help to improve the reputation of the sector overall, and also provide greater confidence that tenants are getting a fair deal,” says Welsh Housing Minister Julie James . “This important legislation will balance the need for landlords and agents to make adjustments to their business models with the need for these changes to come into force as soon as possible.” Scotland was the first to introduce a tenant fees ban in 1984 although confusion over the way the legislation was framed led to a clarification in 2011 that stated that only the rent and deposit are valid payments.
Northern Ireland’s government began the process of considering a ban in 2017 and a successful landmark case brought by a tenant last year over a £36 admin fee means many of the fees charged by NI agents are now practically speaking outlawed. But the political impasse in Northern Ireland means legislation is a long way off.
“The experience that agents operating in other parts of the UK are currently going through demonstrates that this is a highly complex area with many areas of uncertainty and agents need to draw on the support of their professional body,” says David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark.