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Government reveals letting fee ban details

Parliament-UK-Government-Dusk-700.jpg 

The Government will bring in draft laws to ban letting fees today, acting on earlier promises to outlaw the charges.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says the draft tenant fees bill will help “millions” of renters.

The proposed new laws will mean tenants can only be asked to pay their rent and an up-front deposit.

The laws will also cap holding deposits at no more than one week’s rent, and security deposits at no more than six weeks’ rent.

It will also lay out proposed requirements on landlords and agents to return a holding deposit to a tenant.

The Government will make it a civil offence to break the fee ban, with a fine of £5,000.

If a letting agent breaks the ban twice in five years, they face fines of up to £30,000 or criminal prosecution.

The draft bill will also prevent letting agents from double charging both tenants and landlords for the same services.

Trading Standards will be responsible for enforcing the ban.

A DCLG statement says: “Evidence shows the level of fees charged are often not clearly or consistently explained, leaving many tenants unaware of the true costs of renting a property.”

Communities secretary Sajid Javid says: “Tenants should no longer be hit by surprise fees they may struggle to afford and should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit.

“We’re delivering on our promise to ban letting agent fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and increase protection for renters.”

A letting fee ban was first proposed in the Autumn Statement last year.

The draft bill will be debated in parliament before it becomes law.

The Government is also consulting on making membership of client money protection schemes mandatory for letting and managing agents that handle client money.

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