Following demands from landlords, agents and tenants alike, the government has recently produced more detailed guidelines on how the Tenant Fees Bill (which restricts charges payable by tenants) should be applied. Following this guidance, we want to update the advice given in our recent article.
When the letting fees ban was announced, there were a number of unanswered questions due to a lack of guidance on how it should be applied. We sought advice from our legal advisors to obtain greater clarity around what landlords can and can’t charge students when it comes to security deposits.
Our legal advisors suggested that landlords shouldn’t have charged more than five weeks’ rent for security deposits paid before 1 June 2019, for contracts commencing after this date.
When contacted by us, some landlords and estate agents agreed with our legal advisors – in fact, some have already issued refunds where more than five weeks’ rent had been charged.
Basically, the government has now produced more detailed guidelines which effectively contradict how our legal advisors had interpreted the new rules.
The guidelines suggest that landlords may charge more than five weeks’ rent up until 1 June, regardless of when the contract is due to start.
This means that if you have been charged more than five weeks’ rent for your security deposit, you are not entitled to a refund as we previously thought, and your landlord or estate agent does not have to refund larger deposits (although as previously mentioned, some already have).
It’s evident that the original lack of clarity left certain elements of the Tenant Fees Bill open to interpretation, causing confusion for all parties.
We appreciate that this is all a bit confusing, and with under two weeks left until the ban comes into effect, we’re happy to help you if you’re not sure where you stand.
We still encourage you to make a free contract checking appointment to make sure there are no unfair charges coming later on in your tenancy. The contract check also includes instructions for getting your deposit back and tips for setting up utilities etc.
To request your free contract check, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you attach your tenancy agreement, and we will do the rest!
This information is relevant to the majority of our students, so please help them by sharing this information. We all know that student life runs on a tight budget, so help us make student life better at Royal Holloway and spread the word!
The SU Advice Centre is a free and independent service for all students here at Royal Holloway, based on the first floor of the Students' Union building. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll ensure we point you in the right direction of the relevant support.
Registered charity no: 1141998
The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
Egham, TW20 0EX