Are there fees for tenants in London?
There are so many things to get your head around when renting in a new country: geographical areas, property types, legalities, documentation, and terminology. So, you will be pleased to hear that there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about when renting in London: letting fees – by landlords and letting agents.
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Master all the steps needed to rent a home in London – including how to secure a property, understanding deposits, and checking the tenancy agreement before signing. Updated May 2023.
For too long, Londoners were hit with eyewatering letting fees whenever they rented a new home or renewed their tenancy agreements – so the government stepped in.
Do tenants have to pay fees in London?
The introduction of the Tenant Fees Act on 1 June 2019 banned most letting fees and capped tenancy deposits paid by tenants in the private rented sector in England – with the aim of making renting fairer and more affordable for tenants.
Who does the act apply to?
Under the terms of the Act: “The ban on tenant fees applies to new or renewed tenancy agreements signed on or after 1 June 2019.”
Which fees are now banned?
The Act prohibits landlords and letting agents from charging certain fees to tenants – including:
- Credit checks
- Inventory checks
- Administrative tasks
In addition, a landlord or letting agent cannot make tenants pay for:
- An inventory check – though it may be prudent to pay for one if the landlord does not.
- A check-out fee at the end of the tenancy.
- A professional clean at the end of the tenancy.
If a prohibited fee is charged, tenants can reclaim it through the courts.
What can you still be charged for?
The Act allows landlords and letting agents to charge tenants for limited categories of payments – including:
- Security deposits: The Act sets a cap on security deposits that can be requested from tenants. In most cases, the maximum deposit is limited to the equivalent of five weeks’ rent, or six weeks’ rent if the annual rent exceeds £50,000.
- Holding deposits: Landlords and letting agents can request holding deposits to reserve a property while the necessary checks are conducted. However, the Act places restrictions on holding deposits, which are typically limited to one week’s rent. Specific requirements must be met by the landlord or letting agent, such as providing information about how the deposit will be handled.
- Certain charges in default situations – such as late rent payments over 14 days, payments for leaving a tenancy early, and payments to change the tenancy.
What types of tenancy are covered by the Act?
The Act covers fees charged to:
- Assured shorthold tenants
- Property guardians
- Student lettings
- People with a room in a shared house
- Lodgers living with a private landlord
The Act also covers fees charged to guarantors.
What penalties are imposed for non-compliance?
The Act imposes financial penalties on landlords and letting agents who breach the rules: up to £5,000 for a first breach of the ban, and up to £30,000 for additional breaches.
How much do renters save?
Since the introduction of the Act, renters in London now save over £600 on average each time they move home.
Now you know you’re protected from these additional fees; you can plan your rental budget with confidence – and look forward to starting your new life in London.