Law News

Agents will be able to Charge for Change of Sharer

Rose Jinks - February 27, 2018

Letting agents will be able to charge a fee when a sharer on a joint tenancy changes, a Government minister has confirmed.

However, Heather Wheeler, the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, did note that any such fee will only be permitted when the tenant has requested the change themselves.

Speaking to MPs on the Housing, Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, Wheeler stated that the draft Tenants’ Fees Bill would be changed to make this clear.

Mark Prisk MP, who had earlier warned that there was some “nervousness” about the way in which default fees, which will be permitted under the bill, are defined, raised the question as to whether or not a charge would be allowed on a joint tenancy when a sharer changed.

Wheeler responded: “This is something we have listened to as the evidence has been given.

“We think that this is an area where further clarity is needed, and we intend to permit a charge for a variance on the tenancy and charges related to a change of sharer where these are requested by the tenant.”

When asked to clarify further, Wheeler confirmed: “It would be appropriate to charge a fee for a change of tenancy for a sharer when the tenant is asking for that.”

Under the draft bill, costs to tenants will be reduced, as landlords and their letting agents will be banned from requiring any payments from tenants as a condition of granting, renewing or continuing a tenancy with the exception of rent, a refundable tenancy deposit, a refundable holding deposit and tenant default fees (for issues such as lost keys or late rent payments).

We will continue to keep you up to date with developments to the forthcoming letting agent fee ban at Landlord News.

Be aware that the ban is not scheduled for introduction until spring 2019.