Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service has launched a new campaign to help prevent renters in the region being caught out by fees that have now been banned.

The law on what landlords and letting agents can charge tenants when beginning, ending or changing their contracts has changed. 

It means renters can no longer be asked to pay extra for things like professional cleaning and having pets or being charged for references and credit checks. 

The changes mean that there is only a limited number of fees which are still allowed by law.

These include:

  • Rent
  • A refundable tenancy deposit
  • A refundable holding deposit of no more than one week's rent
  • A reasonable payment in the event of the tenant’s default (such as a lost key or a failure to pay rent on time)
  • Payments to change the tenancy (capped at £50 or the reasonable costs of the landlord or letting agent if they are higher)
  • Payments on termination of a tenancy
  • Payments relating to council tax, utilities, TV licence and bills such as telephone, internet, cable TV and satellite TV.

Councillor Christine Carter, Cabinet Member for Corporate and Community Services, Torbay Council, said: “This ban applies to all assured shorthold tenancies, tenancies of student accommodation and licences to occupy housing in the private rented sector. If your landlord or agent asks you to make a prohibited payment, you should refuse and report it to Torbay Trading Standards.”

Ben Newell, Team Manager at Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards said: “Lots of people rent homes in the South West, so it’s really important to be aware of your rights as a tenant and how these changes in the law might affect you. Renting can be expensive as it is, so you don’t want to get caught out by any additional, and potentially high, fees that are no longer allowed.

“There’s lots of useful information on our website about what you can and can’t be charged for, so I’d encourage anyone who is renting or thinking about renting to find out more before they sign on the dotted line.”

You can find out more information, including how to report any concerns, on the Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service website.

News archive