Landlords are warned to be ready for the tenant fee ban which starts in Wales from September 1.
With the deadline approaching, the Welsh Government has yet to publish detailed guidance for property professionals about how the ban will work, so landlords and tenants may have to wait until the last minute to find out how the law will operate.
The Renting Homes (Fees etc) (Wales) Act aims to cut the cost of taking out or renewing a private tenancy by an average £200.
From the start of September all fees are outlawed except:
- Security deposits
- Holding deposits capped at no more than one week’s rent
- Penalty payments for breaking a tenancy agreement
- Council Tax
- Utility bills, including phone and broadband
- The cost of a TV licence
Other measures included in the act include setting deadlines for returning holding deposits.
Landlords breaking the new law face a fixed penalty of £500. Offenders can also go before the courts, where unlimited fines and a banning order can be imposed.
“The rules will ensure that those wishing to rent in the private sector can expect high standards, fair treatment and transparency,” said a government spokesman.
“Fees charged by letting agents often present a significant barrier to many tenants, especially those on lower incomes.
“No longer will tenants be charged for an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory or signing a contract. No longer will they be charged for renewing a tenancy. And no longer will they have to pay check out fees when they move out.”
Anyone renting out a private home in Wales must follow the ban, even if they live outside the country. Around one in six Welsh households privately rent.
Tenant fee bans are already running in England and Scotland.