“Help us stop rogue landlords” — renters asked to back letting fees crackdown
Private tenants looking for a new home to rent in Hackney are being reminded to keep their money in their pockets and report illegal activity as the Council begins tough enforcement of the ban on letting fees and cap on tenancy deposits.
The Tenant Fees Act, which came into force on 1 June, means letting agents can no longer charge fees to let homes to renters – saving prospective tenants hundreds of pounds.
The Council had long pushed the Government to introduce measures to prevent unfair and untransparent charges for renting a home, as well as launching its own voluntary ban on these type of fees in 2017 as part of its response to the rocketing cost of renting in Hackney in recent years.
Research by the Council as part of its #BetterRenting campaign found that tenants in Hackney were regularly being charged fees of more than £500 to begin a tenancy which, when added to a six-week deposit, could see up-front payments on an average two-bedroom home near £3,000.
With a legal ban now in place across England, landlords, letting agents and managing agents will face fines of up to £30,000 and banning orders if they charge fees for services such as processing tenancy agreements or request deposits of more than five weeks’ rent.
The cost of renting in Hackney is already far too high without landlords and agents taking advantage of Hackney’s acute housing shortage by charging tenants excessive, untransparent and unreasonable fees just to find somewhere to live.
We campaigned strongly for an end to letting fees, and with a ban now in place our message to landlords and letting agents is clear – we’ll use every power we have at our disposal to tackle those who flout the law.
And we want renters to help us stop rogue landlords and agents getting around the new rules by telling us when they’re asked to make unfair payments and by refusing to pay charges that they shouldn’t.
To report landlords and lettings charging illegal fees or deposits, contact the Council’s Trading Standards.
Find out more about the Council's #BetterRenting campaign – including the completion of its first homes for living rent in Homerton in September and the Government’s agreement to ban Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions.