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Confusion over tenant fees legislation in Wales

The Renting Homes Wales Act which is now in forces is causing confusion for landlords and letting agents as it does not outline a fees structure, it is claimed.

The Act, which came into force on 01 September was given Royal Assent in May of this year, giving the Welsh Government just under four months to see to its implementation.

And while the Act outlines the types of payments landlords and agents will still be permitted to make, it does not include a fees structure detailing any caps. These will come under secondary legislation the Welsh Government hopes to have completed by the end of this year.

This means that currently landlords and letting agents will only be able to charge for rent, a security deposit, a holding deposit, payments in default, payments in respect of council tax, payments in respect of utilities, payments in respect of a television licence and payments in respect of communication service.

However, landlords and letting agents can use their current arrangements for these fees until the secondary legislation comes into effect. This is likely to create confusion amongst tenants, landlords and agents when creating new tenancies, according to the National Landlords Association (NLA).

‘To introduce half the Act now and the other half at some later date is a shoddy piece of work,’ said Richard Lambert, NLA chief executive officer.

‘All of those affected by the Act will have followed the implementation of the Tenant Fees Act in England, which introduced a fee structure and caps at the same time as reducing the number of permitted fees,’ he pointed out.

‘The Welsh Government needs to ensure they communicate the differences between this Act and the Tenant Fees Act in England clearly, and work on the secondary legislation as quickly as possible to clear up this uncertainty,’ he urged.

‘Landlords and letting agents are running businesses. They need to be able to plan for the future, just as tenants do,’ he added.