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Vast numbers of private renters across England are now legally entitled to large refunds from their estate agents after the transitional period for the government’s Tenancy Fee Act legislation expired today.
On June 1st last year, the Tenancy Fee Act officially came into law, banning estate agents and landlords from charging tenants more than 5 weeks’ rent as a deposit for all tenancies created after this date (6 weeks’ rent for tenancies above £50,000 in annual rent).
The 2019 Act also banned agents and landlords from charging arbitrary admin fees – such as check-in fees, referencing fees, and cleaning fees – on all tenancies created on or after June 1st 2019.
However, up until today, the Act only applied to new tenancies created on or after this date.
As of today, June 1st 2020, the legislation now applies to all existing tenancies – meaning that huge numbers of private renters across the country are now entitled to large refunds on the deposits they paid at the beginning of their tenancy.
If you currently hold an Assured Shorthold Tenancy – the most common type – which was created or renewed after June 1st 2019, and the deposit you paid at the start of your tenancy amounted to more than 5 weeks’ rent, you are now legally entitled to a refund of the amount over the 5-week cap.
For example: Myself and Jess have rented our home on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for 3 years, beginning in June 2017. We initially paid a deposit of £1200 in 2017 and have renewed our contract several times, the latest being for a further 12 months in December 2019.
Because of the new clause coming into force today, we are entitled to a refund of £507.70 from our initial deposit.
The law states that it is the responsibility of landlords and estate agents to contact their tenants to inform them of any refund they may be entitled to.
However, given our extensive personal experience of the private rented sector, we believe it is highly likely that large numbers of agents and landlords will mysteriously forget to pass on this information.
You can also find out more information on the law here.
If these circumstances apply to you, it is definitely in your interest to contact your estate agent or landlord as soon as possible.
If your tenancy is covered by the legislation and they refuse to reimburse you, they will now be breaking the law.
You can use our template text below to contact your estate agent or landlord to request a partial refund of your deposit:
Dear [INSERT NAME]
As you will be aware, the transitional period for the Tenancy Fee Act 2019 expired on June 1st 2020, meaning that all existing tenancies created on or before June 1st 2019, but which have been renewed on a fixed term basis after this date, have now become applicable tenancies and are covered by the law.
The law states that agents and landlords must issue a partial refund for any deposit held which amounts to more than the 5-week cap for any Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement created or renewed after June 1st 2019.
Please refer to the online guidance from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme for confirmation.
My tenancy initially commenced on [INSERT INITIAL COMMENCEMENT DATE OF TENANCY], but it was renewed after this date on [INSERT RENEWAL DATE AFTER JUNE 1ST 2019] – at which point it became an applicable tenancy under the law.
Owing to this change in the law, I believe I am entitled to a partial refund of my deposit over the 5-week cap.
Please could you advise further.