Here is a question to the blog clinic from Becky
I work for Home Start Colchester., supporting a mum who has a landlord who:
- Charges her £20 if she is late (even by a day) with her top up rent
- Charges her £30 to call at the house
- On inspection, if not up to his high standard, charges £40
Can he do this? It is not on the tenancy agreement
No! The landlord is not entitled to make these charges. Whether they are on the tenancy agreement or not.
- A landlord can only charge penalties if these are authorised by the tenancy agreement and even then
- Only if they are ‘fair’ (see here for more about the law relating to unfair tenancy agreement clauses and here for a post on penalty clauses).
I cannot see how these charges can possibly be fair – and in any event, they will be illegal after 1 June when the Tenant Fee ban is due to come into force.
The question is though
What can the tenant do about it?
Unfortunately, unlike letting agents, private landlords are not required to be a member of a redress scheme.
She can though complain to the local Trading Standards Office who are supposed to deal with unfair trading and unfair terms issues. And maybe speak to her Local Councillor.
And of course – refuse to pay them!