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Important change in the law for tenants and landlords

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One of the many unfair aspects of the housing market in recent years has been the increasing number of fees that tenants have to pay to access a home in the private rented sector. 

When Fair Housing for Frome carried out a housing survey earlier this year, the three highest concerns expressed by private tenants were unaffordable rents (55%) followed by unreasonable agents’ fees (42%) and short tenancies (42%). The irony is that it’s the landlord who often dictates when the tenant has to move home, pay a higher rent, and on top of that, find the money for fees all over again. 

The good news is that following lobbying by groups such as Shelter, the new Tenants Fees Act came into force on 1st June and will save tenants an estimated £300 every time they move house. All upfront fees to tenants are now banned, including reference fees, credit checks, administration fees and contract renewal fees. The only default fees that a landlord or letting agent can charge are for the cost of replacing a key or if rent is over 14 days late. This also means that many letting contracts are now out of date, because they refer to fees that are no longer legally allowed. 

“Whereas many pieces of government legislation don’t seem to have an immediate impact on our daily lives, this clearly does,” says Vicki Burke, one of the board members of Fair Housing for Frome. “That’s why we’ve organized an evening briefing and Q&A by housing expert Stephen Fowler for all tenants, landlords and letting agents in the town. Please join us to find out how the new law will affect you.” 

The event is at the Cheese and Grain at 7pm on Monday 10th June and is being run in partnership with the Frome Landlords Association. Thanks to funding from the TDS Charitable Foundation, it’s free of charge. Any queries to Alison Murdoch, 07866 541954.

 

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