While the Tenant Fees Bill in England is due to come in on June 1, plans to ban fees in Wales continue to be debated.
The Renting Homes Wales (fees etc) Bill is now in its third stage and was due to be debated in the Senedd on January 15. However the debate has since been put back to a date yet to be announced.
The bill wants to ban all fees paid by tenants to landlords and agents when tenancies are created – excluding only ‘permitted payments’ such as rent and security deposits.
There have now been a number of amendments to the bill, including some which the RLA has serious concerns about.
These include plans to:
- Increase Fixed Penalty Notice fees across the board from £500 to £1,000
- Ban landlords from keeping the holding deposit if the tenant is trying to rent a home illegally under the Immigration Act.
- The RLA is also worried about proposed changes, introduced by section 17 of the Bill, to the wording of the Renting Homes Act 2016 – which states landlords would be unable to evict if a banned payment is received by them or ‘any other person’.
It is currently campaigning for:
- A two-tier system of fines, one for agents and one for individual landlords.
- Changes to the wording of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 so that landlords are not punished for the actions of third parties – for example if an unauthorised third party charged a fee without the landlord knowing.
- Permission for landlords to keep holding deposits if they have carried out checks on tenants only to find they cannot legally rent in Wales.
The RLA has contacted members with rental homes in Wales encouraging them to contact their AMs ahead of the debate, to explain the potential implications.
If you would like to contact your AM you can download a sample letter here and edit it to include you own details and circumstances – then email it to your AM.
The RLA will update members as to the new date for the debate when it is announced. Keep an eye out here and on our social media channels.
To read more about the bill – and the RLA’s response to the consultation click here.