Confusion hangs over tenant fees ban five months after implementation

Agents are still facing significant issues following the tenant fees ban, with some afraid to charge fees – even if they are allowed to – for fear of enforcement action.

Theresa Wallace, co-founder of the Lettings Industry Council (LIC) and head of lettings customer relations for Savills, said that agents are still finding guidance unclear.

Speaking yesterday at a lettings forum in central London, one example she highlighted was Saturday check-out fees.

She said: “The government guidance states that agents can’t charge for this but then in the following sentence says there are times when they can.

“This needs clarification.”

The guidance states: “You cannot require a tenant to pay a fee when they leave the property, or checks out, on a Saturday, or at any time over the weekend.

“If a tenant chooses to check-out on a Saturday, you may charge for this, but only where the tenant has been given a reasonable alternative that does not require a fee (e.g. a check-out during office hours, if this required).”

Wallace said agents and landlords are also facing issues with tenants offering to pay an extra deposit or fee to have a pet but the guidance only allows for up to £50 to be charged for amending a tenancy.

She said: “The biggest lesson we can learn is it takes time to implement changes.

“The guidance came out in April and legislation came in June.

“The industry had one month to read 55 pages, understand guidance and rewrite everything to comply.

“For such a big change the industry needs a minimum of three months to adapt.”


Email the story to a friend


  1. Breaking Dad

    I don’t believe there is confusion over the law, it may be a confidence thing but the guidance is clear.  In my opinion, tenants now have to work around the opening times of the business and pet owners must expect to pay a higher rent over a higher deposit.  Tenancy swaps are no longer possible, a new tenancy must be drawn up instead at a higher rent to cover the landlords out of pocket costs because lets be fair, a landlord is not going to pay agent fees if they dont have to and the work involved in doing one is more than £50.

    In some ways the tenant wins, but they are also losing and paying higher rents because landlords and agents cannot afford to be flexible anymore.

    1. jeremy1960

      I agree, have one at the moment, couple split up 5 months into a 12-month agreement. He wants off the agreement she wants to stay and bring someone else in, why should the landlord be penalised? Landlord has offered new agreement at £50 pcm but that gets us nowhere as the cost of drawing up new agreement at £50 is a joke. As a result existing tenants still liable until end of current by which time landlord will have served S21.

  2. Will2

    Do not entirely rely upon guidance as courts use the wording of the law not guidance.  Government and people like shelter have demonised all landlords so I take a hardline stance on my interpretation of the law. It is my only way to try to protect myself.  Lost keys not my problem get a locksmith as the costs cannot be fully covered with someone else determining what might be a reasonable cost.

  3. CountryLass

    I would take the Saturday thing as “Your tenancy comes to an end on Saturday 16th November, so we can either do the checkout and have the keys handed back on Friday 15th or you can drop the keys into the office on Saturday 16th and we can meet at the property on Monday 18th to do the checkout. Are either of these acceptable to you? No? Ok, well, we can do a Saturday checkout, however there is a cost for this of £50 including VAT as we will need to arrange extra cover in the office.”


    I have had people miss out on a property because they have a pet and the Landlord wants an extra deposit (which used to be £150-£200) but we can’t do that, and the Tenants were not willing to pay an extra £25 a month for the rent! It’s ridiculous. Deposits are NOT fees, as long as a Tenant pays the rent and bills, looks after the property and returns it in good condition, they get it back!


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.