This is a rather complicated right and is scattered throughout the various consumer laws and regulations.
The main points are as follows:
You have a right to be given correct information about the property before you rent it.
This right is set out in various adverting rules and under the misrepresentation legislation. If the property was advertised through a letting agent, you will be able to complain about any issues here to their Property Redress Scheme.
Your tenancy agreement clauses must be fair or they will be invalid
This used to be under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations but is now under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The rules are quite complex but are explained to a certain extent in the Landlord Law Blog posts below.
Trading Standards are supposed to regulate the unfair terms regulations but since the closure of the Office of Fair Trading, less work is done here. However if a tenancy agreement clause is unfair the landlord will not be able to enforce it against you and you will have a defence to any proceedings brought through the courts.
Letting agents must now publish their fees and be a member of a Property Redress Scheme
The fees need to be published, inclusive of VAT, at the agent’s premises and on their website. The fees need to be specific and not vaguely refer to ‘admin charges’.
There are two property redress schemes. They are:
A right not to be charged unfair fees
This right comes from the Tenants Fees Act 2019. Under this tenants can only be charged permitted fees under the act.
The act also provides for tenancy deposits to be limited to five weeks worth of rent, or if the property is over £50,000 rent pa the limit is six weeks worth of rent. The landlord or agent is also allowed to charge a holding deposit of up to one week’s rent, which the landlord can hold for up to 15 days, or longer if agreed with the tenant in writing. There are strict rules as to when it can be retained by the agent or landlord.
Landlord Law Blog Posts
- Tenants Legal Help – five tips on your tenancy agreement
- Recent changes to letting agent fees
- New case on unfair terms in tenancy agreements
- Tenancy Agreements 33 days of tips – Day 16 – unfair terms (1)
- Tenancy Agreements 33 days of tips – Day 17 – unfair terms (2)
Action – with letting agents, your best course of action will normally be to complain to their redress scheme. It is more difficult with landlords – if you can afford it, try to get specialist advice if you have an issue.