Contract checking

The Student Accommodation Office offers a contract checking service, so make an appointment before signing if you have any doubts.

Government Guidance for Tenants

Understanding letting fees

From 1 June 2019 the tenant fees act came into action banning most letting fees and capping tenancy deposits paid by tenants in the private rented sector in England.

This act will also ban any prohibited fees for all existing tenancies from 1 June 2020.


The ban applies to most private tenants, including those who have an assured shorthold tenancy, are in student housing or a lodger.

The ban on fees will not apply if you signed your tenancy agreement before 1 June 2019, even if your tenancy starts after this. Your landlord or agent will still be able to charge fees until 1 June 2020.

Fees breakdown
What you can't be asked to payWhat you can still be asked to pay

If you sign or renew a tenancy you can’t be asked to pay for:

  • referencing
  • credit and immigration checks
  • administration
  • renewing your contract

The only fees that you can be charged are:

  • if you are more than 14 days late paying your rent
  • for the cost of replacing a key or fob
  • if you want to end or change a term in your tenancy
Summary of the table's contents



The ban won’t apply to existing tenancies until you renew for a new fixed-term tenancy, or until June 1 2020 - whichever comes sooner. If you signed your contract before 1 June 2019 and it states that you must pay a renewal fee to renew your tenancy then this still applies if you renew before 1 June 2020. However, the landlord or agent won’t be able to include any further charges in your renewal agreement.

If you renew your tenancy, after or on 1 June 2020, any deposit money you have paid that exceeds 5 weeks’ rent must be refunded.

If you leave your tenancy before 1 June 2020, you will still have to pay a check out fee or inventory fee if this is stated in your contract.

Holding deposits

A holding fee is paid if you agree to take the property, but have not signed the contract to take up the tenancy. Don’t pay it if you’re not absolutely sure. It will probably not be refundable. Ask for a receipt and a copy of the terms and conditions.

"From 1 June 2019, a holding deposit can’t be more than 1 week’s rent."


  • Amount of holding deposit 
  • Address of the property 
  • Proposed rent for the property 
  • Length of contract 
  • Tenancy start date 
  • Requests for the landlord (e.g. cleaning or furniture to be provided) 
  • Conditions for refunding the deposit should you or the landlord change your mind or your references fail 


  • The landlord or agent should stop advertising the property
  • It is not permitted for the Landlord to take a holding deposit from more than one person for the same property at the same time
  • You have 15 days from when you pay a holding deposit to enter into a tenancy agreement 
  • You can agree a different deadline with the landlord or agent in writing

Holding Deposit FAQs

If you enter into a tenancy agreement, the landlord must either:

  • Return your holding deposit within 7 days of agreeing the contract
  • Deduct if from the security deposit (see page 21) or the first rent payment with your permission

If the agreement is cancelled, and it’s not your fault, the holding deposit should normally be returned to you.

You could lose your holding deposit if you decide not to go ahead, or don't take reasonable steps to agree a tenancy by the deadline.