A senior councillor has welcomed the ban on additional rental fees, which stop tenants being treated as “cash cows”.

Cllr Phillip O’Dell, who is responsible for housing at Harrow Council, said the new laws, which will come into effect today (June 1), will ensure that landlords do not exploit their position.

Landlords and letting agents will no longer be able to charge for things like credit checks, guarantor forms and cleaning services.

Fees for gardening, administration, inventories and flea treatment as a condition when allowing pets will also be banned.

Cllr O’Dell said: “These new laws are long overdue. Private sector renters have been ripped off for years with fees for services that should be free.

“It’s time letting agents realised they cannot treat their tenants as cash cows.”

As part of the Tenants Fees Act 2019, landlords will only be able to charge for rent, as well as payments in reference to utilities, communication services, TV licences and council tax.

There are conditions applied to deposits – which are capped at five- or six-weeks’ rent – and fees related to tenancy changes and late payments or lost keys.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs from agents or landlords.

“This Act not only delivers on our promise to ban letting fees but also caps deposits, helping renters keep more of their hard-earned cash.

“It is part of our ongoing action to make renting fairer and more transparent and make a housing market that works for everyone.”

But agents have warned that these changes could result in rent going up as landlords look to recoup any fees they would have previously been paid.

Insurance provider Just Landlords conducted a survey among its clients to gauge their opinion on the new rules.

It found that the majority of participants believed that these changes would not necessarily benefit tenants.

Spokesperson Rose Jinks said: “It is clear that our respondents felt the same; rents will go up, causing the Government’s efforts to make renting cheaper fall flat on its face.”

She added that private sector landlords should become clued-up on the new laws to avoid being fined for breaching them.

Harrow Council pointed out that those charging additional fees could be fined £5,000 and given a criminal record.

Those who repeatedly break the rules would face penalties of up to £30,000.