Landlords and agents across England are being warned by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) that they should now be prepared for the changes to the law regarding tenant fees, which comes into effect on 01 June.
Last month, online resource DepositCap.com was set up by the UK’s largest protection scheme for tenancy deposits. The site is designed to provide those affected by the new legislation with all the necessary information to prevent any breaches of law, offering examples of how the ban could impact tenancy deposit protection (TDP).
The resource centre also provides information on the new systems in place by TDS to make it as easy as possible for members to comply with legislation by allowing them to adjust the value of the deposit accordingly.
From 01 June this year, tenancy deposits for properties where the annual rent is under £50,000 will be capped at five weeks’ rent, and this limit increases to six weeks’ rent in cases where the annual rent exceeds the £50,000 threshold.
‘The number of visits that we’ve had to the website, in only a month, shows that there is a huge appetite for clear information and guidance on how to comply with the changes and avoid possible fines or prosecution,’ said Steve Harriott, chief executive of TDS.
‘Agents and landlords are in real danger of falling foul of the law if they don’t make themselves aware of the implications of the new rules. We’re doing everything we can to make things as easy as possible for everyone to not only understand how the legislation affects them but also enabling agents and landlords a simple online solution to quickly and securely adjust the value of the deposits in-line with the new legislation,’ he explained.
‘Educating our customers and members on their TDP responsibilities is paramount and we strive to make the processes of deposit protection simple, quick and efficient. As the only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme, we’re able to invest surpluses back in to the business to create new and innovative technology solutions to support our Custodial and Insured members in this way,’ he added.
David Cox, chief executive of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), has called on all agents and landlords to ensure that all changes made to their business are correct and compliant with the new law, pointing out that they should also be clear and transparent when communicating information about these changes to their clients.
To help agents along the way, a tenant fees toolkit has been made available by ARLA to its members which includes fact sheets and a series of short videos to help explain what the ban. ARLA have also issued a warning that penalties of up to £5,000 could be issued to any agents found to be in breach of the new laws, while further breaches could incur either a £30,000 fine or prosecution. In case of prosecution, the fine would be unlimited and a permanent banning order could be imposed.
‘Therefore, it’s vital members ensure they have everything in place to be compliant as time is running out,’ he added.