Tenants’ Fee Ban:
Following on from the tenants’ fee ban which came into force in England 1st June 2019, a similar fee ban came into force in Wales on the 1st September 2019. It applies to the new assured shorthold tenancies in Wales.
The Welsh Government has published a detailed guide – Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act 2019: Guidance for landlords and agents – though it points out that the publication is for guidance only and is not a definitive statement of the law.
However, Robin Stewart of Anthony Gold solicitors points out that the guidance contains some serious errors and omissions, in particular whether statutory periodic tenancies arising at the end of a fixed term after August 2019 would come within the scope of the Welsh fee ban. This issue and others require further urgent clarification.
In Wales the fee ban applies to new assured shorthold tenancies only, not licenses as is the case in England. The new rules will apply to tenancies granted from 1 September 2019 and to holding deposits taken from that date.
Excluded or “permitted payments” set-out in Schedule 1 of the Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act 2019:
- Security deposit
- Holding deposit
- 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.
There appears to be some confusion over what landlords can or cannot charge with respect to tenancy amendments and changes of sharers in joint tenancies.
Mr Stewart thinks that the, “…confusion [cause by errors in the guidance] is only going to result in difficulty for landlords, tenants and agents to keep track of their legal rights and obligations during what is already a time of significant legal upheaval for the Welsh private rented sector.”