Tenant Fees Act 2019: Renters could be owed £320 refund thanks to new tenancy rules
If you rent a property, you could be entitled to a refund of more than £300 on your deposit fee, thanks to new legislation introduced earlier this year.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) said renters have received returns of £320.27 on average since the new Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on 1 June 2019.
The new guidelines mean that security deposits are now capped at a maximum of five weeks’ rent for tenancies with an annual rent of less than £50,000 – or a maximum of six weeks’ rent for tenancies with an annual rent of £50,000 or more.
In cases where the same tenancy is renewed, the landlord or agent must refund any part of the deposit that exceeds the cap back to the tenant.
The Government-approved protection scheme prevents landlords from charging bigger deposits when tenants move in and was introduced in an effort to make the rental market fairer.
Debbie Davies, at the TDS, told The Mirror, “We reviewed data from when the legislation was first introduced in order to establish how frequently deposits are being partially repaid by agents or landlords.
“During this period we have made 2,550 repayments totalling £817,031.33.
“From delving deeper into the figures, we identified the average payment was £320.27 and the highest repayment to a tenant was £3,382.62. We believe the deposit cap is having the effect intended by Parliament, with the deposit held being reduced upon renewal, which is great news for renters.”
How to check if you’re owed a refund
Renters who paid a deposit that cost more than five weeks’ worth of rent may be entitled to a refund.
If your annual rent costs more than £50,000 then you need to have paid a deposit for more than six weeks’ to be owed some of your money back early.
The amount you will be refunded depends on the deposit you put down and how much your weekly rent costs.
Renters will only receive a refund if they stay on at the property, otherwise they would be due their entire deposit back, assuming there were no reductions for any household repairs.
If you have renewed your contract since 1 June 2019 (and your deposit was more than the cap of five weeks’ rent), your landlord should have automatically refunded you the difference. And those who are due to renew their contract in the future should also automatically receive that money back.
If your deposit is held in a Government-approved scheme, it should be refunded to you within 10 days.
For renters whose deposit is not protected by a Government-approved scheme (such as students in university halls, or those on an assured tenancy), there is no set timescale as to when you will receive your money.
If a landlord refuses to pay, you can report them to Trading Standards who can force them, and estate agents, to pay you back within seven to 14 days.