New information matrix from TDS and ARLA aims to simplify tenant fees ban
The Tenancy Deposit Service (TDS) and ARLA PropertyMark have created a new information matrix to help simplify all the details of the new tenant fees ban for letting agents and landlords, as some confusion over the new rules remain. This is a particular problem for landlords and letting agents who operate in both England and Wales where there are some differences in the rules.
Even though the Government may have worked hard to make the new rules as clear as possible for landlords and letting agents, sometimes best laid plans don’t always work out as expected. In addition, where a portfolio landlord or a letting agent is operating in England and Wales, it can be easy to get confused between the two, particularly now when the rules are still new and possibly not 100% clear for every case.
TDS and ARLA PropertyMark have collaborated to create a new information matrix to help dispel any confusion and make the new rules simpler and clearer for all landlords and letting agents in England and Wales.
What are the differences?
There aren’t a lot of differences, however, if you don’t follow the rules, then landlords and agents could face a fine.
The main differences between the Tenant Fees Act 2019 in England and the Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act 2019 are:
- The security deposit; in England, the refundable tenancy deposit can be no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is below £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where it’s over £50,000. Right now, in Wales, there is no cap on the tenancy deposit a letting agent or landlord can charge a tenant.
- Pet deposit; in England a tenant cannot be charged a higher security deposit if they have a pet, but in Wales they can request a higher security deposit.
- Late payment of rent charges; in Wales tenants can face additional charges if they pay their rent late, but that action is prohibited in England.
- Contract amendment charges cannot be made in Wales, but they are applicable in England, up to a cap of £50, where a tenant requests a contract change, such as a new sharer moves in or if the tenant requests a pet.
However, there are also similarities, which are:
- A holding deposit is capped at one week’s rent, which can be held for 15 days.
- Landlords and agents are still permitted to make deposit deductions for breaches of tenancy obligations, provided proof as provided.
- Deposit deductions are permissible where rent payments are in arrears at the end of a tenancy.
- No tenancy check-in or check-out fee is permitted to be charged.
- If a tenant leaves the tenancy early the landlord or agent is able to charge an early termination fee, within certain parameters.
- Landlords and letting agents are able to make a reasonable charge where the tenant loses the keys for the property.
- No other fees are permitted to be charged to tenants, this includes admin fees, negotiation fees, invoice charges, Saturday move-in fees and reference fees.
How the Matrix helps
The creation of this matrix gives landlords and agents a quick and easy-to-use reference grid to ensure they’re using the correct contracts and terms for their tenants, whether they’re in England or Wales.
“We created the matrix to highlight the most important points of the legislation in a simple, visual way, to show how the two Acts differ in England and Wales,” commented Debbie Davies, who heads up communications at TDS.
It also helps by making all of the new rules clear and understandable, something that is helpful to everyone involved in the residential lettings industry. If you know what rules you must adhere to, then you won’t fall foul of the new regulations and potentially face a fine.