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Tenant Fees Bill
The Tenant Fees Bill, which will ban most charges set by both landlords and letting agents to tenants is continuing through the Parliamentary process. It now seems likely that it will come into force next year. The ban on tenant fees will apply to all new and renewal assured shorthold tenancy agreements, ASTs, and licences from the date it comes into effect.
Specific provisions are set out for holding deposits, rent, rent deposits and charges for defaulting on the tenancy agreement. All other fees are banned within the Bill.
Where a ‘banned’ fee or payment is taken, the tenant will be able to go through the country court to reclaim it, with the assistance of local trading standards. Substantial fines, starting at £5000 for a first offence, will also be imposed on the landlord or letting agent who received the payment.
The most recent change to the Bill is a cap on the amount of Security Deposit that can be charged at the commencement of tenancy. Significantly, this has now been reduced to the equivalent of 5 weeks rent where the annual income is less than £50,000 per annum, i.e. £961.54 per week. An interesting observation has been made by our professional body:
“Once again politicians are attacking the industry for their own purposes. Tenancy deposits have worked perfectly well for over a decade, and there is no basis in research that these amendments are necessary.”
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive
How Alphabet City can help
Alphabet City will continue to closely monitor the progress of the Tenant Fees Bill through Parliament and endeavour to keep you informed. Tenant Referencing charges, Move in Administration fees and Inventory Check-out costs will be proscribed fees within the new legislative framework. We will be contacting all our Landlords to discuss how this will affect them.
- Tenant Fees Bill
- View the progress of the Bill on the Parliament website Progress
- Latest update on the Tenant Fees Bill
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Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill 2017-19
This Bill is (at the time of writing) going through the House of Lords but is expected to pass. The focus is to put a duty on a landlord to ensure that any property they let for a term of less than seven years will be ‘fit for human habitation’; and, will be maintained as such throughout the tenancy. If the landlord allows the property to fall into disrepair, the tenant can ask the court to make an order forcing the landlord to act.
Please see the infographic produced by our professional organisation below. It explains the way in which repairs and maintenance might change and become even more compliance-focused than it already is.
How Alphabet City can help
Where we manage, Landlords will already be familiar with our portal, https://alphabet-city.fixflo.com, where tenants can report maintenance and upload photos or videos of the problem. The whole repair interaction between us, the tenant, landlord and contractor is time and date stamped with a view to streamlining and speeding repairs.
We would highly recommend ‘Let Only’ Landlords to establish and maintain contact with your occupiers. This will mean you will be able to be more reactive to repairs as needed.
For further information of the progress of the bill please click here.
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Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, MEES
All privately rented property in England and Wales let from 1st April 2018 must be rated E on the energy performance scale. This will apply to all existing tenancies in the private rented sector from 1st April 2020. This legislation is part of a move to increase the energy efficiency of housing stock across the country.
The vast majority of property that we let and manage exceeds an ‘E’ rating. However, we are conscious that when repairs and major works are needed at your property that we suggest eco-friendly options for your consideration.
How Alphabet City can help
Since October 2008, Landlords have been required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate to a potential tenant. They are valid for 10 years. Alphabet City is reviewing each EPC for compliance for both MEES and the renewal anniversary.
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Tower Hamlets Licencing
Tower Hamlets will proceed with an ‘Additional’ Licensing Scheme of all property with three or more tenants forming two or more different households, irrespective of the property type, throughout the borough from 1st April 2019. This excludes the current wards already covered by the Selective Licencing Scheme.
How will this affect you?
The licencing fee will be £520.00 for five years and will require that a property meets minimum standards and has relevant safety certificates. The application process tends to be lengthy and involved. Evidence of the following will be required:
- Annual gas safety certificate
- Electrical installation condition certificate in the last 5 years and a portable appliance test certificate
- An automated alarm system in the event of fire, and if appropriate emergency lighting
- Evidence of arrangements which demonstrate competent property management – management records and copies of tenancy agreements
- Floor plan with room and kitchen sizes clearly shown
- Copy of the EPC where this applies
- Current occupancy details (tenancy agreements)
Alphabet City can help
Alphabet City is very experienced in helping our Landlords through this process, as we have now assisted our Newham Landlords through two cycles of licencing.
We will be in contact early in the New Year to discuss your requirements.