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Some letting agencies are wrongly charging tenants fees

Some letting agents appear to be breaching the Tenant Fees Act introduced in June 2019 by charging fees.

An investigation from i detailed the case of Georgie Laming and Sorana Vieru, who were charged a £170 checkout fee when vacating their property, despite having renewed the contract after the ban took place.

After Vieru pointed out that this was in breath of the act, the agent tried to charge the money as an ‘invoice’, claimed the law doesn’t apply to renewed contracts, and even tried to illegally take it out of the deposit.

The agent in question dropped the demand after being reported to the Trading Standards Agency. The agent then blamed the Association of Residential Letting Agents for giving misadvice.

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, a government funded body designed to hold letting agents to account, told i that there are 18 cases which could be subject to fines of £45,000 if agents are found to have breached legislation.

Breaching the legislation is a civil offence that can incur a fine of up to £5,000.

The Tenant Fees Act means landlords and agents can only charge a maximum of five weeks’ rent for security, and one week as a holding deposit.