MSE News

New law to protect tenants against unfair charges

Landlords will have to provide evidence of the cost of repairs and replacement items to their tenants before they can impose charges, under new plans revealed by the Government.

The Government says the move, announced yesterday as part of amendments to the Tenant Fees Bill, will put a stop to tenants in England being charged hundreds of pounds for a damaged item that actually only costs a few pounds to replace.

The bill will also ensure that the deposit tenants pay at the start of their tenancy cannot be more than six weeks' rent, as is the industry standard at the moment.

For further info on rental rights, letting fees and more, plus energy tips, see 50+ Tips For Renters.

What are the new rules? 

The Government says the new law means a landlord or agent will only be able to recover "reasonable" costs, and only if they provide evidence.

For example, the Government says landlords have been known to charge £60 to replace smoke alarms, which the council would have replaced for free – they will no longer be able to do this.

Check out MSE Callum's My landlord charged me £100 to replace a lightbulb... and then another £50 to clean it blog for another example of this. 

Who will the law apply to?

The law affects tenants in England, and hasn't been passed yet.

Once the law is passed, the ban will apply to all new tenancies agreed after that date. 

What does the Government say?

Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak said: "Tenants across the country, whatever their income, should not be hit with unfair costs by agents or landlords.

"This Government is determined to make sure our housing market works and this new provision in the Tenant Fees Bill will make renting fairer and more transparent for all."