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Call of the Week: Tenant Fees Ban and Section 21 implications

Call of the week
Landlord Advice
Written by Landlord Advice

Whenever new legislation comes into force, the RLA members call LAT for the latest updates on what it means for their business. 

Despite Brexit taking up a significant portion of parliament’s time, a number of new pieces of legislation are coming through that will impact on our members.

This week’s call was from a member who was concerned that new section 21 restrictions would be implemented after the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force.  His concern was that tenants would be able to defend or delay section 21 proceedings by claiming spuriously that the home was unfit for human habitation.

While we were happy to advise the member that this was not the case, and that the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 will not prevent the use of a section 21 notice, we did inform him that the upcoming legislation banning tenant fees will prevent the use of a section 21 where a prohibited fee has been taken.

This legislation is still subject to change but once it does come into force, any tenancies created after this point (whether brand new or a renewal tenancy) may see the section 21 notice restricted.  This will happen where the landlord or agent requests a prohibited payment such as referencing fees or costs for administration costs and the tenant pays that money.

Until the landlord or agent returns the money in full a section 21 notice cannot be served.

We advised the member that they should be considering this now as their tenancies may contain clauses asking for these sort of fees.  Once the ban comes into force landlords and agents should be fixing their agreements so they don’t inadvertently request payment and find themselves falling foul of this restriction.

Rupinder Aujla, LAT Manager, said ‘We’re very happy that so many of our members are keeping up to date with the latest legislation and LAT is always happy to provide advice on this sort of topic.  Preparation is key for landlords and agents over the next few months.’

We have recently published a new guide for landlords on what they need to know about the Fitness For Human Habitation Act. This can accessed on our site here.

Learn more

  • The Tenant Fees Bill is set to come into force on June 1 this year, it has been announced. This means that, subject to the bill getting Royal Assent. Check out our piece on what you need to know about the Tenant Fees Bill here.
  • Want to learn more about the (Homes) Fitness for Human Habitation Bill? We are hosting a Property Standards webinar on 12th February. FREE for RLA members and £5 for non-members, sign up here.
  • If you’re an RLA member and want to understand more about upcoming legislation change that could affect your business, give our Landlord Advice Team a call on 03330 142 998.

About the author

Landlord Advice

Landlord Advice

On-demand phone support from our landlord advisors is a big feature of RLA membership and is seen by many of our members as the most important service we offer. You can call the team in total confidence and be assured that the advice you'll receive is friendly, pertinent, up-to-date and practical.

Access to the advice team is FREE for all RLA Members.

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