Landlords and agents in Wales will be banned for charging extra fees from 1st September 2019. Letting agents and landlords will not be allowed to charge extra fees apart from the permitted payments of the below:
Payments in default;
Payments in respect of council tax;
Payments in respect of utilities;
Payments in respect of a television licence;
Payments in respect of communication services.
From 1st September 2019, any charges that are not listed above is prohibited and banned by the Act, which means fees with regards to a tenancy agreement, administration fees, guarantor fees etc. are all considered prohibited payments.
Regarding the security deposit amount, it should be around the equivalent of one month to six weeks rent. However, there may be circumstances which mean that landlords may wish to take a slightly higher amount of deposit, for example, should a tenant have pets, which may provide landlords with peace of mind should damages occur due to those pets. It is permissible to ask for a higher amount of deposit in these circumstances, according to the Letting fees: guidance for landlords and letting agents, published by the government.
If a landlord required a tenant to make a prohibited payment, enforcement authority is able to issue landlords a fixed penalty notice of £1,000 for the offences.
If you have questions regarding permitted and prohibited payments, you should consider contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau or obtaining independent legal advice. You could also contact your local authority’s housing department, or Rent Smart Wales.
You can learn more about the Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act 2019 on the Welsh Government website.