The legislation for England states that in addition to the asking rent, for assured shorthold tenancies agents are now only permitted to charge the following:
- A refundable holding deposit – capped at no more than one week’s rent. Belvoir Colchester will ask you to give us permission to use this towards the 5 weeks rent tenancy deposit, which is subject to satisfactory references. In the event of misleading or false information being given and resulting in Belvoir Colchester not being able to give you a tenancy the holding deposit will be used to cover charges incurred.
- A refundable tenancy deposit – capped at no more than five weeks’ rent, or no more than six weeks’ rent if the annual rent is £50,000 or more.
- Payments to change the tenancy (once it has commenced), when requested by the tenant – capped at £50 (including VAT), or reasonable costs incurred if higher.
- Payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant – Government advice says that this can cover landlord costs associated with remarketing the property, referencing new tenants and any shortfall in rent up until a new tenant takes over.
- Payments in respect of utilities – gas; electricity; water; sewage; communications – telephone and broadband; installation and subscription to and of cable/satellite; television licence and council tax.
- Payment of interest for the late payment of rent at a rate of 3% above the Bank of England base rate.
- Replacement of a lost key or security device, where required under a tenancy agreement up to the permitted limits as set by the Government.
Any charges made that are not in this list will be classed as unlawful prohibited payments. Additionally, agents cannot require tenants to pay for services, such as reference checking, through a third party.
For further information regarding what can and cannot be charged, we do urge you to read the act in full and to consult professional legal advice if in any doubt: