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.

You will have to pay a court fee to start a claim. If you claim benefits or have a low income you might be able to get help with paying the court fee. Find out if you can get help here.

See Citizen’s Advice for details of how to start a claim.

Always think carefully before starting court action. If you already have an occupation contract, your landlord may decide to try to evict you rather than risk being taken to court.


Defend any ‘no fault’ eviction action

Your landlord or letting agent cannot evict you using the ‘no fault’ eviction 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.

A ‘no fault’ notice means the landlord does not need to give a reason to evict you and refers to notices under section 173, section 186 or a landlords break clause.

For a full list of actions your landlord needs to take before they are able to serve a ‘no fault’ notice, see our pages on eviction by a private landlord.

Get help as soon as you can if you have received a notice.

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: Mai 19, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.