Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act 2019

Document Number:2019 anaw 3
 
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An Act of the National Assembly for Wales prohibiting persons from requiring certain payments to be made or certain other steps to be taken in consideration of the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract, or pursuant to a term of a standard occupation contract; to make provision about holding deposits and in relation to requirements to publicise certain fees charged by letting agents; and for connected purposes.

Having been passed by the National Assembly for Wales and having received the assent of Her Majesty, it is enacted as follows:

PART 1 Overview

1 Overview of Act

(1) This section gives an overview of the main provisions of this Act.

(2) Part 2 makes it an offence for a landlord or letting agent to require certain payments to be made or certain other steps to be taken in consideration of the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract, or pursuant to a term of a standard occupation contract.

(3) Part 3 makes provision about the repayment of holding deposits (as defined in Schedule 1).

(4) Part 4 makes provision about enforcement, including provision about powers to require information, and fixed penalties.

(5) Part 5 makes provision for the recovery of payments prohibited by this Act, and of holding deposits withheld contrary to this Act.

(6) Part 6 gives the Welsh Ministers a power to make provision by regulations in relation to publicising certain fees charged by letting agents.

(7) Part 7 makes general provision, including provision about the procedural requirements for making regulations, and about Crown application.

PART 2 Prohibition of certain payments etc.

2 Prohibitions applying to landlords

(1) It is an offence for a landlord to require a prohibited payment to be made to the landlord, or any other person—

(a) in consideration of the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract, or

(b) pursuant to a term of a standard occupation contract which purports to require the payment to be made.

(2) It is an offence for a landlord to require a person to enter into a contract for services with the landlord, or any other person—

(a) in consideration of the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract, or

(b) pursuant to a term of a standard occupation contract which purports to require entry into the contract for services.

(3) But subsection (2) does not apply if the contract for services concerned provides for services to be provided by a person upon whom the standard occupation contract confers, or would confer, the right to occupy a dwelling (whether or not the contract for services also provides for any other person to provide services).

(4) It is an offence for a landlord to require the grant of a loan to the landlord, or any other person—

(a) in consideration of the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract, or

(b) pursuant to a term of a standard occupation contract which purports to require the loan to be granted.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine.

(6) The court by which a person (“the offender”) is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) may order the offender to pay the amount of the payment concerned or (in a case where part of the payment has been repaid) the outstanding amount of the payment to the person by whom it was paid.

3 Prohibitions applying to letting agents

(1) It is an offence for a letting agent to require a prohibited payment to be made to the letting agent, or any other person—

(a) in consideration of arranging the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract, or

(b) pursuant to a term of a standard occupation contract which purports to require the payment to be made.

(2) It is an offence for a letting agent to require a person to enter into a contract for services with the letting agent, or any other person—

(a) in consideration of arranging the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract, or

(b) pursuant to a term of a standard occupation contract which purports to require entry into the contract for services.

(3) But subsection (2) does not apply if the contract for services concerned is a contract between a landlord and a letting agent only, in respect of lettings work or property management work to be carried out by the agent on the landlord’s behalf.

(4) It is an offence for a letting agent to require the grant of a loan to the letting agent, or any other person—

(a) in consideration of arranging the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract, or

(b) pursuant to a term of a standard occupation contract which purports to require the loan to be made.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine.

(6) The court by which a person (“the offender”) is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) may order the offender to pay the amount of the payment concerned or (in a case where part of the payment has been repaid) the outstanding amount of the payment to the person by whom it was paid.

4 Prohibited and permitted payments

(1) Any payment of money is a prohibited payment unless—

(a) it is payable by a landlord to a letting agent in respect of lettings work or property management work carried out by the agent on behalf of the landlord, or

(b) it is a permitted payment by virtue of Schedule 1.

(2) That Schedule makes provision about—

(a) rent;

(b) security deposits;

(c) holding deposits;

(d) payments in default;

(e) payments in respect of council tax;

(f) payments in respect of utilities;

(g) payments in respect of a television licence;

(h) payments in respect of communication services.

5 Non-binding contract terms

(1) A term of a standard occupation contract is not binding on a contract-holder to the extent that (but for this section) it would require a prohibited payment to be made, or a contract for services to be entered into, or a loan to be made, as described in section 2 or 3.

(2) But the contract continues, so far as practicable, to have effect in every other respect.

6 Application of sections 2 to 5 to pre-existing requirements and contracts

Sections 2 to 5 do not apply in respect of—

(a) a requirement imposed before the coming into force of this Part;

(b) a requirement forming part of a standard occupation contract entered into before the coming into force of this Part.

7 Power to amend definition of “permitted payment”

(1) Regulations may amend this Act for the purposes of adding, modifying or removing a reference in Schedule 1 to a category of payment.

(2) But the power in subsection (1) does not extend to removing the payment of rent from the categories of payment that are permitted payments under this Act.

8 Meaning of “letting agent”, “lettings work” and “property management work”

For the purposes of this Part and Parts 3 to 5—

“letting agent” (“asiant gosod eiddo”) means a person who carries out lettings work or property management work (whether or not the person carries out other work);

“lettings work” (“gwaith gosod”) and “property management work” (“gwaith rheoli eiddo”) have the same meaning as in Part 1 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (anaw 7) (see sections 10 and 12 of that Part).

PART 3 TREATMENT OF HOLDING DEPOSITS

9 Treatment of holding deposits

(1) A payment that is a permitted payment by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 (which permits the payment of holding deposits) is to be treated as having been made on the terms set out in Schedule 2.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to a payment made before the coming into force of Schedule 2.

PART 4 Enforcement

Enforcement authority powers to require information etc.

10 Power to require documents or information

(1) An authorised officer of an enforcement authority may exercise the powers conferred by subsections (2) and (3) in relation to documents or information reasonably required by the authority for the purpose of investigating whether any offence under this Act has been committed in respect of a dwelling located in the enforcement authority’s area.

(2) An authorised officer may give a notice to a person within subsection (4) requiring that person to produce, at a time and place, and to a person, specified in the notice, any documents which—

(a) are specified or described in the notice, or fall within a category of document specified or described in the notice, and

(b) are in the person’s custody or under the person’s control.

(3) An authorised officer may give a notice to a person within subsection (4) requiring that person to provide, in a form and manner specified in the notice, and at a time and place and to a person specified in the notice, any information which—

(a) is specified or described in the notice, or falls within a category of information which is specified in the notice, and

(b) is known to the person.

(4) The persons within this section are—

(a) a person who is or has been a landlord under a standard occupation contract;

(b) a person who is or has been a contract-holder under a standard occupation contract;

(c) a person who is or has been a letting agent.

(5) A notice under subsection (2) or (3) must include information about the possible consequences of not complying with the notice.

(6) A person to whom any document is produced in accordance with a notice under subsection (2) or (3) may copy the document.

(7) No person may be required under this section to produce any document or provide any information which the person would be entitled to refuse to produce or provide, in proceedings in the High Court, on grounds of legal professional privilege.

(8) In this section,“document” includes information recorded otherwise than in legible form, and in relation to information so recorded, any reference to the production of a document is a reference to the production of a copy of the information in legible form.

11 Offence of failing to comply with a notice under section 10

(1) It is an offence...

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