A new law to ban unnecessary letting fees in Wales will come into force on September 1 2019, if it receives Royal Assent.
The Act makes it an offence to charge a tenant any payment that is not specified as a ‘permitted payment’ by the legislation. This means tenants cannot be charged for such things as an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory, signing a contract, or renewing a tenancy.
It is estimated the Bill will save tenants almost £200 per tenancy.
Letting agents and landlords will only be permitted to require a payment for rent, security deposits, holding deposits, a payment in default (when a tenant breaches a contract), and payments in respect of council tax, utilities, a television licence, or communication services.
The Bill will cap holding deposits paid to reserve a property before the signing of a rental contract to the equivalent of a week’s rent and create provisions to ensure their prompt repayment. It will also give the Welsh Government the power, should it wish to use it in the future, to limit the level of security deposits.
Deputy Housing Minister and Local Government Minister Hannah Blythyn said:
We understand that landlords and agents need time to make adjustments to their business models and practices in order to comply with the change. However, we have been clear that we want to see this important legislation come into force as soon as possible, in particular before students start their autumn term at Welsh universities.
Providing the law receives royal assent, it will come into force on September 1 this year. We have already written to interested organisations to inform them of this, and we are keen that tenants in Wales are aware of their rights under the Act.