Tenant Fees Bill:
In an amendment to the Tenant Fees Bill currently passing through Parliament, Labour proposes to amend the new law. It would introduce a cap to make it illegal for any landlord to take a security in excess of three weeks’ rent.
The Bill, as it currently stands under the government’s proposals, would cap the deposit at six weeks rent. That figure, experts in the industry have argued, is the minimum necessary to deter rent arrears and to offer adequate protection for landlords.
Labour, on the other hand, claim the government’s six-week limit, according to The Independent newspaper, “would do nothing to help most tenants, because the average deposit is already less than five weeks’ rent.”
Labour has said its proposed change would significantly limit the amount landlords would be allowed to take as a deposit and save tenants on average £575, or £928 in London
The Tenant Fees Bill, currently making progress through Parliament, is seeking to ban all fees that landlords and letting agents are permitted to charge tenants, with the exception of charges for defaults on the tenancy agreement.
The Bill had its second reading debate on Monday 21 May 2018, and has now been committed to a Public Bill Committee. The Committee met on Tuesday 5 June and is expected to report to the House by Tuesday 12 June 2018.
Speaking about the Bill and this proposed amendment Melanie Onn, Labour’s shadow housing minister, has said:
“Labour is fighting for a fairer deal for all renters. We recognise the private rented sector is the fastest growing area of housing, and it is right that they are not exploited by unfair fees. This government has failed renters for the last eight years. Labour will hold them to account to make sure the power between landlords and tenants is rebalanced.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has said:
“Our new measures will save hard-working renters an average of £200 every time they move, and in some cases much more.
“Landlords will be allowed to charge a maximum of six weeks’ rent and we expect them to consider what is the right deposit to take on a case-by-case basis.”
According to the government’s impact assessment produced for the Tenant Fees Bill, the average rental deposit was £1,161 in March 2017, which represents a rise of 19% since 2012.