Landlords in Wales will have to provide certain information to a prospective tenant before they can take a holding deposit, from Friday.
The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Specified Information) (Wales) Regulations 2019 were originally due to come into force on 13th December 2019.
However, following concerns raised by the RLA over the short amount of time landlords would have in order to comply, the Welsh Government made the decision to revoke original draft regulations, with revised ones coming into force on 28th February 2020.
What information will landlords in Wales be required to provide?
The regulations state that the following information must be provided to a prospective contract-holder:
(a) amount of holding deposit
(b) address of the dwelling in respect of which the deposit is paid
(c) where a holding deposit is to be paid to a letting agent, the name and contact details of that letting agent,
(d) where a holding deposit is to be paid to a landlord, the name and contact details of that landlord,
(e) duration of the contract,
(f) proposed occupation date,
(g) amount of rent or other consideration,
(h) rental period,
(i) any proposed additional contract terms or proposed modifications to fundamental or supplementary terms or terms proposed to be omitted from the contract,
(j) amount of any security deposit,
(k) whether a guarantor is required and, if so, any relevant conditions, (l) reference checks the landlord (or letting agent) will undertake, and (m) information the landlord or letting agent requires from the prospective contract-holder.
What is meant by address of landlord-RLA campaigning
When the regulations were first published, the RLA was concerned about the need for a landlord to provide a personal address at such an early stage in the process. After writing to the Welsh Housing Minister Julie James AM to convey these worries, the Welsh Government agreed to amend the regulations to prevent a landlord from having to provide a home address to a prospective tenant before a holding deposit is taken.
The regulations have been changed to specify that “contact details” will be required to be provided by the landlord and/or agent, and where their property is being managed by an agent, only the agent’s contact details will be required. A business address could be provided rather than a home address.
The regulations state that this information must be given to a prospective tenant in writing, and that it may be given in person or provided electronically -if a prospective contract holder consents to receiving it electronically.
Holding deposits-written evidence
Landlords in Wales must have provided a prospective tenant with the above information to be able to retain the holding deposit.
Landlords and agents who choose to retain a holding deposit should protect themselves by making sure they have written evidence that they asked relevant questions on earnings, etc that will have an impact on their decision making in granting a tenancy. The RLA’s tenancy application form is ideal for collecting this evidence.
Repaying the holding deposit
In Wales, a holding deposit must be repaid to the tenant within 15 calendar days of payment. This can be extended as long as both the landlord and the tenant agree to the extension in writing.
If both parties do not agree to enter into a tenancy, then the deposit must be repaid within seven days of the deadline for agreement, whether that is 15 days from receipt or another date as agreed in writing. If a landlord retains the holding deposit, this must be contributed towards the security deposit or the first month’s rent.
Learn more about the tenant fees ban in Wales
- The fees ban was introduced in Wales on 1st September 2019. It is being introduced on a gradual basis. Read more about the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Holding Deposit) (Specified Information) (Wales) Regulations 2019 in this Explanatory Memorandum
- The Welsh Government has also produced guidance on the fees ban, which can be read online here.
- In England, the Tenant Fees Act came into force on 1st June 2019, and it is due to be extended to apply to all existing tenancies from June this year.