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Guide to tenancy fees

Note: due to the effects of COVID-19, some of the information on this page might not currently apply.


As of 1st June 2019, it's become illegal for landlords and agents to charge most tenancy fees – thanks to the Tenant Fees Act. This means that if you sign a new tenancy or renew your current one after 1st June 2019, you can't be asked to pay any fees for:
  • Referencing
  • Credit and immigration checks
  • Administration fees
  • Renewing your contract

(NB: this list isn't exhaustive!)

If you get asked to pay for any of these fees, you have a right to report your landlord or agent via Citizen's Advice, as they'll be breaking the law and should pay a penalty for this.

However there are a few things you can still be charged for, like:

  • The cost of replacing a key you've lost
  • If you're more than 14 days late paying your rent
  • If you want to change your tenancy (i.e. by replacing a tenant), or end it early

You'll also still be expected to pay a security deposit, but from 1st June 2019 these will be capped at a maximum of five weeks' rent in advance. It's also okay if you're still asked for a holding deposit, but this must be limited to one week's rent. Your landlord will have to return your holding deposit within 15 days of receiving it, or put it towards your first month's rent or security deposit.

These new laws apply to any private tenants with an assured shorthold tenancy, those in student housing, or lodgers with live-in landlords.

The same laws will come into effect in Wales a little later on this year, from 1st September 2019.

If you rent in Scotland you shouldn't be asked to pay any fees, as administration fees are illegal here too. If you're asked to pay a fee for a drawing up a lease or reference checks in Scotland you should challenge it. Shelter's website has a process where you can reclaim your fees.

You can find more information about the Tenant Fees Act here.

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