Green light on letting fees ban to save renters millions every month, Citizens Advice says
The Tenant Fees Bill, which today passed its final stage in Parliament before Royal Assent, will stop renters being forced to pay £160 million a year in unfair and uncompetitive fees.
Citizens Advice has called for a ban on fees for a decade and worked with Parliamentarians across the political spectrum to make sure the Bill was as watertight as possible.
This included closing a “default fees” loophole that could have led to landlords and agents charging fees through the backdoor by adding unfair terms to tenancy agreements.
Citizens Advice also urged legislators to reduce the amount of money required for a deposit from 6 weeks’ rent to 4 weeks. The final Bill compromised on a deposit worth 5 weeks’ rent.
The Bill is expected to become law from 1 June. From then the only money renters should have to pay when they move into a new home will be their deposits and advance rent.
There are now 4.7 million households in the private-rented sector, the second largest tenure in England behind home ownership.
In the past 12 months, Citizens Advice helped 59,000 private renters. It dealt with 2,100 letting fee problems and 3,400 issues about the cost of a deposit or advance rent.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“This is a landmark moment for the millions of people who rent privately.
“For too long families and other renters have had to hand over hundreds of pounds on unfair and uncompetitive letting fees every time they moved home.
“We look forward to working with the government to do even more to strengthen the hand of the growing number of renters in a market where they have little bargaining power.”
Notes to editors
- Calculated £160m a year using figures from the 2014/15 English Housing Survey (latest available data): at that time there were 4.3 million private renting households, 30% had lived at their current accommodation less than a year, and 52% of this group paid a fee during their tenancy, at an average amount of £241.
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