Wales speeds closer to Tenant Fee Ban

Whether it’s in Wales or England one thing is for certain, tenant fee bans are coming, and they’re steaming in quickly.

It does seem that landlords in the valleys are going to be facing the changes much sooner than their counterparts in England though, as the changes planned under the Renting Homes (Fees etc) (Wales) Bill, which was launched by the Welsh Assembly, is gathering pace much faster that it’s Westminster counterpart. And there’s no messing about in Wales.

The Welsh Bill states that landlords and letting agents will only be able to charge rent, a security deposit, and a holding deposit, or fees when a tenant breaches a contract, and is set to impose a cap on deposits. Breaches will carry a fixed penalty of £500, with the potential for unlimited fines and the possibility of the loss of their landlord licence.

In Wales, a licence is required by every landlord and letting agent under the Rent Smart Wales Scheme, which was introduced in 2015 in a bid to improve the image of the PRS in Wales. Failure to hold a RSW licence, and continuing to operate in the sector carries hefty fines.

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 checkout fees when they move out.

Welsh housing minister Rebecca Evans

What we hope is that the Welsh Government are learning from the Scottish ban, and the scrutiny of the Westminster proposal, to ensure that the most efficient system is put in place in Wales.The outcome that we need and should be hoping to achieve is a housing sector that is fair and works for everyone.

Welsh Conservative housing spokesman David Melding

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