Banning Letting Agent Fees in Wales

Timeline of events:

15 May 2019
The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act receives Royal Assent and passes into law, ahead of the implementation date of 1 September 2019.

8 April 2019
In a letter sent to stakeholder from the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James AM, the Welsh Government announced its intention to commence the ban on fees from 1 September 2019.

27 March 2019
The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill passed Stage 4 in the Welsh Assembly and is now awaiting Royal Assent.

19 March 2019
In Plenary, aspects of the Bill were clarified through amendment. The Bill passed Stage 3.

29 November 2018
Following agreement to its general principles, amendments to the Bill were considered at Stage 2.

12 June 2018
The Welsh Government introduced the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill to Assembly.

27 February 2018
The then Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Rebecca Evans AM announced the Welsh Government’s intention to ban tenant fees.

Renting Homes (Fees etc.)(Wales) Act

On Tuesday 12 June 2018 the Welsh Government introduced the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill to ban fees charged in the private rented sector. During the legislative process, the Act has been amended. The Act will: 

  • Ban tenants from being charged for an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory, signing a contract,  exit fees or renewing a tenancy.
  • Allow letting agents and landlords to only charge fees relating to rent, security deposits, holding deposits, utilities, television licence, communication services, Council Tax and payments in default.
  • 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 of £1000 to be issued against anyone requiring a banned payment. If penalties are not paid, enforcement authorities (which encompasses local authorities and the licensing authority, Rent Smart Wales) 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.

Having received clarification that Green Deal charges are classed as a Permitted Payment under the provision of utilities, ARLA Propertymark is seeking a definitive answer in guidance how Change of Sharer and Surrender of Tenancy will be dealt with under the ban.

David Cox, Former Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark comments on the passing of the Act:

“It is essential that agents get to grips with this legislation and understand the impact on their business, making the preparations that they need well in advance of 1 September.

The experience that agents operating in other parts of the UK are currently going through demonstrates that this is a highly complex area with many areas of uncertainty and agents need to draw on the support of their professional body.


Tenant Fees Toolkit Wales

The Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act comes into force on 1 September 2019. It is a complex piece of legislation and ARLA Propertymark’s toolkit of resources will help you understand the ban and help your businesses comply with the legislation. The resources range for a series of document templates, case studies, videos and FAQs.

View the toolkit


On 27 June 2017 the Welsh Government’s legislative priorities for the coming year (2017-18) were outlined in an annual statement by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones. It included news that the Welsh Government will take legislative action to tackle the fees charged to tenants in the private rented sector.

“We will introduce a Bill to prevent unfair fees from being charged to tenants and prospective tenants. This will provide those in the private rented sector with clarity about the costs involved and ensure the system is fair, equitable and sustainable.”

Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales.

The Consultation

On 19 July the Welsh Government launched its consultation on the fees charged to tenants in the private rented sector.

Communities and Children Secretary, Carl Sargeant AM, said:

“I want to know the extent of the fees charged, what those fees cover and understand the implications of the removal of these fees for letting agents, landlords, tenants and any third parties involved in the private rented sector.”

It’s vital that members give their views on proposals to change the way fees are charged by letting agents, landlords and third parties to tenants.

The consultation seeks views on the nature and level of fees being charged to tenants. It seeks to determine which fees, if any, are justifiably being charged to tenants. It also seeks information on fees paid by landlords to agents, and also on the possible consequence of banning fees. 

In February 2017, the Welsh Government released its summary of responses to the ban on fees consultation.



On 27 February 2018, the Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Rebecca Evans AM, confirmed the Welsh Government’s intention to ban fees.

Our position

ARLA Propertymark does not support the banning of letting agents charging fees to tenants. We believe fees should be open, transparent and reasonable.

  • Letting agent fees represent legitimate costs to the business that need to be covered.
  • Letting agents deliver a valuable service in ensuring that properties are safe, compliant and professionally managed.
  • Fees are charged to tenants to reflect real work that is undertaken on behalf of them, including checking references, drawing up tenancy agreements, conducting credit checks and general administration.
  • If fees to tenants are banned outright landlords are likely to pass on higher agents’ fees to tenants in the form of higher rent.
  • If less professional and part-time landlords turn away from agents due to increasing costs, they will likely be unaware of new (and existing) legal requirements, causing widespread non-compliance and putting tenants in danger. This could put added pressure on local authorities as tenants look for assistance.
  • Private landlords are an important source of investment in housing stock and a worsening of their financial position will likely result in less investment.
  • Some would-be landlords are likely to be put off by the increased costs that may be demanded by letting agents, and together with the withdrawal of mortgage interest rate relief and additional stamp duty, this will likely reduce the number of new entrants. This will put upward pressure on rents.  

Giving evidence to the Welsh Assembly

On Thursday 5 July 2018, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive David Cox gave evidence to the Welsh Assembly’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee who are scrutinising the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill. Watch the video.

Ahead of the session ARLA Propertymark provided written evidence to the Committee

Read our written evidence


As part of ARLA Propertymark's Tenant Fees campaign, we commissioned evidence on the likely economic impact of the ban in England and Wales from leading consultancy Capital Economics.

Our research shows that the average fee charged by an ARLA Propertymark Protected agent is £202 per tenant.

Total turnover in the residential lettings sector in England and Wales is around £4 billion and it employs around 58,000 workers.

Official statistics show that real estate activities in England and Wales provided employment for 241,000 people in 2015 (6,500 in Wales and 19,000 in the South West).

Fees charged to tenants generate around £700 million per year or approximately 20% of the industry's turnover.

What else have we done?

Following the announcement in November that the UK Government would ban letting agent fees to tenants in England, ARLA Propertymark wrote to the First Minister in Wales requesting a meeting to ensure that the Welsh Government understand all of the evidence around fees.

In March 2017, ARLA Propertymark wrote a joint letter with the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) to Carl Sargeant AM, the Welsh Communities Secretary, to press for a meeting to discuss the implications of the UK Government’s decision to ban letting agent’s fees to tenants and how any subsequent ban in Wales would affect the sector as a whole.