The Welsh Government has published some guidance for landlords and letting agents in Wales on the upcoming fees ban.
The fees ban in Wales is set to come into force on 1st September 2019. A similar ban was introduced in England on 1st June this year.
The new guidance outlines exactly which fees landlords and letting agents will and will not be able to charge for, once the fees ban comes into force.
It is important to note that any tenancy agreement which is entered into prior to 1 September 2019, will not be subject to the requirements of the Act.
The ban does not apply where a requirement to make a payment, grant a loan or enter into a contract for services, was imposed before 1 September 2019 or in respect of a requirement forming part of a tenancy agreement entered into before that date. So a tenant who signed a tenancy agreement on 31 August 2019 could still be required to pay for something which would otherwise be prohibited by this Act.
What are permitted payments?
Payments in default
Payments in respect of council tax
Payments in respect of utilities
Payments in respect of a television licence
Payments in respect of communication services.
Default fees are those fees that landlords charge if a tenant defaults on their contract.
While the new guidance that has been published by the Welsh Government does mention default fees, this matter has yet to be finalized.
Examples of types of default payments could be (but are not limited to):
- Missed appointments – such as a landlord arranging with a tenant for a contractor to carry out remedial work at a property, and a tenant subsequently refusing entry, or not being home to allow entry, resulting in charges to the landlord.
- Replacement keys – loss of keys by the tenant requiring a landlord to arrange for the cutting of new keys and delivery of those keys to the tenant.
When the legislation is made in September, there will be a caveat for default fees where by they will continue as per normal.
This is because the issue of default fees is expected to be debated in the Senedd later this year. This will then become part of the legislation.
You can the RLA’s recent consultation response around default fees here.
RLA campaigning around the Wales fees ban
The RLA has been heavily active in its campaigning efforts around the tenants fees ban in Wales. RLA members were recently invited to help the Welsh Government develop the official guidance on the fees ban.
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.
Conwy landlord event next month
Landlords in Wales are being invited to come to a free landlord roadshow this September.
The roadshow will be hosted by Conwy Council, and it is a chance for landlords in Wales to network and hear the latest about key issues affecting the private rented sector in Wales.
The roadshow will be taking place on 12th September, from 2:30pm-6pm. It will be held at the Exhibition Room, Coed Pella, LL29 7AA.
There will be talks from the following people, with more to be added to the agenda:
- Trading Standards
- Supporting People
- Tai Pawb – Open Doors
- The Fire Service
- Care & Repair