A new law to ban letting fees in Wales has been given Royal Assent by the Queen.
At an official sealing ceremony held today, the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill became an Act of the Assembly.
The act makes it an offence to charge a tenant any payment that is not specified as a ‘permitted payment’ by the legislation.
This means tenants cannot be charged for such things as an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory, signing a contract, or renewing a tenancy.
It is estimated it will save tenants almost £200 per tenancy.
Letting agents and landlords will only be allowed to accept rent, security deposits, holding deposits, a payment in default (when a tenant breaches a contract), and payments in respect of council tax, utilities, a television licence, or communication services.
The act will also cap holding deposits, paid to reserve a property before the signing of a rental contract, to the equivalent of a week’s rent and create provisions to ensure their prompt repayment.
It will also give the Welsh government the power, should it wish to use it in the future, to limit the level of security deposits.
Housing Minister Julie James said: “The private rented sector now accounts for 13% of all housing in Wales.
“This legislation brings clarity which will help to improve the reputation of the sector overall, and also provide greater confidence that tenants are getting a fair deal. I want private renting to be a positive choice that is accessible to everybody.
“This important legislation will come into force on September 1 this year, to balance the need for landlords and agents to make adjustments to their business models with the need for these changes to come into force as soon as possible.”
RLA Director for Wales, Douglas Haig, gave evidence on the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill to the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee, in the Senedd, during the early stages, warning it could increase costs for landlords.
As well as submitting a formal response to the consultation on the bill, the RLA met with AMs to discuss the detail, and earlier this year encouraged members to write to their AMs about the amendments.
You can read a timeline of the RLA’s involvement in the progression of the bill here.
The announcement comes two weeks before the Tenant Fees Act comes into force in England, on 1 June. Landlords with properties in England can read the RLA’s guidance on the Tenant Fees Act here.