Tenant Fees – Wales update

The Welsh government has announced new guidance for tenants, landlords and letting agents in respect of tenants’ fees.

The guidance for tenants and the guidance for landlords and lettings agents are 2 separate documents with the latter being a lot more detailed.

In summary the guidance documents set out:

  1. If the tenancy agreement is signed before 1 September 2019 tenants will still continue to pay any fees that were contractually agreed.
  2. If the tenancy agreement is signed after 1 September 2019 certain fees will no longer be payable by tenants.
  3. Where landlords or their agents charge fees for tenancy agreements signed after 1 September 2019 they are breaking the law and could be fined.
  4. Fees that will not be payable for a tenancy agreement signed after 1 September 2019 include:
  • Signing a tenancy agreement
  • Renewing a tenancy agreement
  • Inventory fee
  • Check in fees
  • Check out fees
  • Administration fees
  • Holding fees
  • Inspection fees
  1. Fees that will continue to be payable after 1 September 2019 include:
  • Rent
  • Security deposits
  • Holding deposits (refundable and limited to one week’s rent)
  • Late payment of rent fee and breach of tenancy fee
  • Council tax
  • Utilities
  • TV Licence

Interestingly, the guidance for landlords and lettings agents states:

“..this document is intended as a guide to aid compliance with the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act 2019, and related matters. It is non-statutory.”

Unlike the English legislation the Welsh legislation expressly states at section 15 that enforcing bodies must have regard to statutory guidance issued by Welsh ministers. However, this guidance expressly does not fulfil that requirement and no other guidance to fulfil s15 appears to exist at this stage. It may well be that the Welsh government is not bothering to produce that guidance until the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 comes into force fully at some stage in 2021. They may also be waiting to see how things progress and what issues are found as the legislation comes into force.

At this stage then the existing guidance does not add much to the legislation, other than to provide a more accessible guide, and it will be necessary to wait and see if anything more substantive appears.

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