Wales looks set to be the next part of Britain to ban landlords and letting agents from charging fees in the private rented sector.
Fees are set to be banned in England with new legislation making its way through the Parliamentary process whiles they have been banned in Scotland since 2012.
Now in Wales the new Renting Homes Bill proposes that fees will be banned for viewing properties, receiving an inventory, signing a contract or renewing a tenancy.
Under the new rules, landlords and letting agents will only be permitted to charge fees relating to rent, tenancy deposits or when a tenant breaches a contract.
Penalties for breaching the new regulations are set to amount to a £500 fixed penalty, unlimited fines and in severe cases the loss of licences.
According to Welsh Housing and Regeneration minister Rebecca Evans the proposed changes will make the private rented sector fairer for tenants at a time when the numbers have been rising and now account for 15% of all housing.
‘This Bill builds on the work we have already done here in Wales through the Housing and Renting Homes Acts to ensure that those wishing to rent in the private sector can expect high standards, fair treatment and transparency,’ she said.
‘Fees charged by letting agents often present a significant barrier to many tenants, especially those on lower incomes. The Bill will mean that tenants no longer face significant upfront fees when they start renting. In most instances they will only need to pay their monthly rent and a security deposit,’ she pointed out.
‘No longer will tenants be charged for an accompanied viewing, receiving an inventory or signing a contract. No longer will they be charged for renewing a tenancy. And no longer will they have to pay check out fees when they move out,’ she explained.
‘I want renting to be a positive and widely accessible choice for people and this Bill will ensure that rental costs become more reasonable, affordable and transparent,’ she added.