The government has put together a draft bill outlining its approach to banning letting fees for tenants.
The Tenant Fees Bill proposes making it a civil offence with a fine of £5,000 for breaching the ban, holding deposits will be capped at one weeks’ rent and security deposits at six weeks’ rent, while property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla will need to abide by the ban.
Trading Standards will be required to enforce the ban and help tenants recover unlawfully charged fees, while the government has proposed appointing an enforcement authority in the lettings sector
Sajid Javid, communities secretary, said: “This government is determined to make sure the housing market works for everyone.
“Tenants should no longer be hit by surprise fees they may struggle to afford and should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit.
“We’re delivering on our promise to ban letting agent fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and increase protection for renters.”
At the same time the government has launched a consultation on making membership of client money protection schemes mandatory for letting and managing agents that handle client money.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Navigating the rental market is stressful and expensive.
“It’s right for the government to ban unfair fees, as this will help renters with the significant costs of moving home.
“This new law must also be enforced so letting agents don’t abuse the system.”