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Welsh Government introduce Bill banning fees

Tuesday 12 June 2018

The Welsh Government Bill banning fees charged in the private rented sector has been launched in the Welsh Assembly today.

We’ve been expecting this announcement since February, when the Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Rebecca Evans AM, confirmed the Welsh Government’s intention to ban fees.

The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill will: 

  • Ban tenants from being charged for an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory, signing a contract, or renewing a tenancy.
  • Allow letting agents and landlords to only charge fees relating to rent, security deposits, holding deposits, or when a tenant breaches a contract.
  • Provide a regulation-making power to limit the level of security deposits.
  • Cap holding deposits to the equivalent of one week’s rent.
  • Create a clear, simple and robust enforcement regime for when offences occur.

The enforcement regime will allow for Fixed Penalty Notices to be issued against anyone requiring a banned payment. If penalties are not paid, Local Housing Authorities can prosecute offences through the Magistrates Court.

Convictions for an offence could result in an unlimited fine and will be taken into account by Rent Smart Wales when considering whether to grant or renew a licence.

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark commented on the introduction of the Bill:

“We have been awaiting the announcement of this Bill, given the scrutiny on tenant fees across the private rented sector. It’s no surprise that, as with the Tenant Fees Bill, the Welsh Assembly have decided on a total ban. 

“We do not believe the Bill will achieve its aims, as our own research last year demonstrated that tenants will end up worse off and banning fees will not result in a more affordable private rented sector. We’ll be liaising with the Welsh Government to ensure they understand the consequences of what ban will entail and how it will negatively impact all those involved in the private rented sector.”

What can you do?

We’ll continue our dialogue with the Welsh Government to ensure they understand the consequences of what ban will entail and how it will negatively impact all those involved in the private rented sector. 

We'll also be providing written evidence to the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee's inquiry before it closes on Friday 7 September 2018. 

If like us, you are concerned about the impact on rents and the ability for the most vulnerable tenants to access the rented property then get in touch with your Assembly Member and tell them why.

We’ll also be updating our resources to help you understand the implications of the ban.