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A new law designed to protect tenants from unfair letting fees came into force on 1 June.
The Tenant Fees Act caps the vast majority of tenancy deposits at five weeks’ rent, while landlords and agents will only be allowed to recover “reasonably incurred costs” from tenants (for lost keys or other security devices, for example) and must provide evidence of such costs before they can impose charges.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Tenants will no longer be stung by unreasonable costs from agents or landlords. Alongside our recent announcement to scrap no fault evictions in the sector, this will make renting fairer and more transparent.”
Under the Act, Trading Standards can make landlords and agents pay back any prohibited payment or any unlawfully retained holding deposit within seven to 14 days.
According to the government the Act will save renters across the UK £240m a year, with the new legislation forming part of a wider package of reforms aimed at delivering a more affordable private rental market.
Ministers are also considering the case for a specialist housing court focused on the needs of landlords and tenants in property disputes.