Do you charge for replacement keys?
After reading a great article from the NRLA, I thought I’d share this with our readers!:
This week our advice team helped a member learn more about a part of the Tenant Fees Act legislation, introduced in England in June 2019.
The landlords’ tenant had given her a call early one Sunday morning to say they had lost the keys to the property and needed a replacement set. The landlord had arranged for a locksmith to go to the property the same morning to change the locks on the main door, and provide new keys.
They gave us a call because they wanted clarification on whether they can charge the tenant for the cost of the locksmith and replacing the keys, given the tenant fees ban.
Our advisor was able to confirm to this landlord that under the Tenant Fees Act legislation, they can still charge the tenant for replacing the keys.
This would be classed as a “default payment”. In England, landlords can only charge for two specific types of default payments provided they are part of the tenancy agreement- these are for lost keys and late payment of rent.
However, we advised this landlord to keep in mind that only the reasonable cost of replacing the keys can be charged, and the landlord must be able to evidence this in writing, for example using receipts. Anything landlords can’t evidence in writing is likely to be considered a prohibited payment under the Tenant Fees Act legislation.
In Wales, a similar ban on fees came into force in September 2019 under the Renting Homes (Fees, etc) (Wales) Act 2019. Under this legislation, landlords in Wales can only charge tenants for the actual cost of replacing keys, as well as the actual cost of changing, adding or removing a lock. Again this can be evidence by a receipt or an invoice.
The landlord thanked our advisor for their time and knew how to proceed.