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:
1. A refundable holding deposit - capped at no more than one week's rent. Belvoir will ask you to give us permission to use this towards the 5 weeks rent tenancy deposit, which is subject to satisfactory references.
A holding deposit can only be retained where a tenant; Provides false or misleading information which it is reasonable for a landlord or agent to take it into account (this can include the tenants action in providing it) in deciding to grant the tenancy (e.g. affects their suitability as a tenant), fails a Right to Rent check, withdraws from a property, fails to take all reasonable steps to enter into a tenancy agreement when a landlord or agent has done so.
2. 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
3. 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
4. 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 and referencing new tenants and any shortfall in rent up until a new tenant takes over.
5. Payments in respect of Utilities – gas, electricity, water and sewerage, Communications – telephone and broadband, Installation of cable/satellite, Subscription to cable/satellite supplier, Television licence and Council Tax
6.Payment of interest for the late payment of rent at a rate of 3% above the Bank of England base rate.
7. 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:
Please note that Belvoir is a member of the Safe Agent client money protection scheme, and also a member of The Property Ombudsman redress scheme. To view our certificate, please click here. You can find out more details on our website or by contacting us directly.