Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act 2019
The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act 2019 (‘the Act’) comes into force on the 01 September 2019. This Act is wide ranging and will have a considerable impact on the private rented sector in Wales. Any breach of the Act is an offence and is prosecutable in the magistrates’ court and the offender will be liable to a fine (not subject to a statutory limit). The enforcement authority may offer the offender a civil fixed penalty of £1000 for certain offences as an alternative to prosecution but this is entirely at its discretion.
Any new ASTs granted on or after 01 September 2019 will be affected. This will include periodic tenancies which will arise on or after 01 September 2019.
Under the Act:
1. Certain fees (including letting fees) are banned from being charged to a tenant (these costs must be fronted by the landlord); and
2. Holding deposits will now be capped and strict timeframes have been introduced for repayment of the holding deposit.
Whilst similar to the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (which affects England only), there are key differences and it is important that residential landlords and letting agents are aware of the differences between this Act and the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and that they comply with the regimes in their respective countries.
New Guidance on the Act
A Guidance Note on the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act 2019 which summarises the key provisions of the Act; which tenancies are affected, which payments can be charged to a tenant and which are prohibited, the new rules on holding deposits and the penalties and consequences for non-compliance.
This Guidance also looks at the practical steps a landlord and/or letting agent can take to ensure compliance with the legislation.
New Holding Deposit Agreements
A new Landlord’s Holding Deposit Agreement for AST (Wales) and a new Letting Agent’s Holding Deposit Agreement for AST (Wales) for use by private sector landlords and letting agents in Wales when a holding deposit is collected prior to entering into an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.
Updates to the following template documents:
Residential Lettings Agency Terms and Conditions to incorporate an obligation on the owner to comply with the Act.
Lettings Agency Fee List to clarify the different requirements between the Act and the Tenant Fees Act 2019 in respect of the application of the holding deposit.
Guidance on Tenancy Deposit Protection to reflect the new rules on holding deposits in Wales introduced by the Act.
Guidance on Section 8 and Section 21 Notices. If prohibited payments are charged and not repaid or a holding deposit is not refunded to the tenant in breach of the Act, this will invalidate the service of a Section 21 Notice in Wales.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.