The Tenant Fee Bill caps the fees tenants can be charged when renting a private home.
This was the first job for the new Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire who put the bill before MPs.
The government predicts that the new law, expected to come into force next year, will save renters £240 million a year in fees.
When the bill becomes law, the only fees letting agents and landlords can charge will be:
- An administration charge if a renter requests a change or early end to a tenancy
- Cost related to utility bills, telephone and broadband or Council Tax
- Payments that are the fault of a tenant, like replacing lost key
Other measures in the bill include:
- Capping holding deposits to a week’s rent
- Limiting charges for changing a tenancy agreement to £50 unless the letting agent or landlord proves extra expense was incurred
- Fines of up to £5,000 for breaking the fee ban, then making breaking the ban a criminal offence if someone is fined or convicted again within five years.
- Giving tribunals the power to refund unlawfully charged fees
- Barring landlords from repossessing homes until they have refunded any unlawfully charged fees
“This government is determined to build a housing market fit for the future. Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs,” said Brokenshire.
“That’s why we’re delivering our promise to ban letting fees.”