What to do if you have been charged a banned letting fee
If you think you have been charged a banned letting fee there is action you can take.
Write to your landlord or letting agent
You can write to your landlord or letting agent and ask for the fee to be returned to you.
Use the sample text below to help you put together a letter.
Click anywhere in the white box to make changes.
Words in brackets are guidance – delete them before you send it.
Once you’re done, click copy text to clipboard and paste into an email, letter or text. Check and save the message before you send it.
Complain to your local council or Rent Smart Wales
If you do not get a reply, or your landlord or letting agent refuses to pay the banned fee back, you can complain to your local council or to Rent Smart Wales.
They have the power to:
- give a notice to your landlord or letting agent telling them to show you evidence that they have kept to the rules (if they fail to give the evidence they can be prosecuted and fined)
- give a fixed penalty notice of £1,000 to a landlord or letting agent
- start criminal action to prosecute the landlord or letting agent. If found guilty of an offence, the landlord or agent could face a fine and/or have to repay any banned fee to you.
Rent Smart Wales can also consider whether the landlord or agent remains fit to continue to rent out properties in the future.
Apply to the county court
If you cannot get the fee returned, you are entitled to start a claim in the county court.
If the court agrees that it was a banned fee they can order the landlord or agent to pay the money back to you.
See Citizen’s Advice for details of how to start a claim.
Always think carefully before starting court action. If you already have a tenancy, your landlord may decide to try to evict you rather than risk being taken to court.
Defend any ‘section 21’ eviction action
Your landlord or letting agent cannot evict you using the ‘section 21 procedure’ if:
- you have paid a banned fee and it has not been returned, or
- they have failed to repay to you a holding deposit which should have been returned.
See our pages on eviction of private tenants for more information and get advice as soon as you can if you have received a section 21 notice.