New tenancy protection laws came in on June 1st but will they make a meaningful difference to tenants?
- New laws designed to protect tenants came into effect on June 1st
- These laws limit the costs landlords can make tenants pay
- Some welcome new laws but they have their critics too
Tenants renting from private landlords are now protected from ‘unfair’ letting fees thanks to a change in the law.
The law, which came in on June 1st, limits what private landlords can charge tenants for.
This includes a cap on the amount of deposit the landlord can charge at the equivalent of 5 weeks’ rent and also prevents letting agents from passing agency fees on to the tenants.
Although a positive move for tenants symbolically, it may not have any practical application as landlords could simply raise rents to pass the costs back to tenants without breaking the rules.
One twitter user pointed out the problem with this.
Unpopular opinion: the tenancy fees ban will lead directly to landlords and agencies charging higher rents instead. It just makes it look like gov’t is doing something, but without additional laws to cap rents it’s meaningless.
— Ardy (@ardyforshort) May 31, 2019
Councillor Sheila Bailey of Stockport council said: “This new Act is really positive news and will ensure that renters in the private sector get a fair deal and are protected from paying excessive charges.”
The new law also prevents landlords or letting agents from charging for referencing or moving in on a weekend. The former could again be avoided by higher rents and the latter by simply not allowing tenants to do so.
If your landlord or letting agent suddenly increases your rent, or you can prove rent for a property you’re interested in has increased beyond the market, you may have a case for court, but letting agents and landlords usually have access to lawyers whereas most tenants cannot meaningfully afford to participate in the legal system.