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Labour to stop landlords evicting if deposit has not been protected

matthew pennycook housing shadow renters reform bill

Labour MPs have tabled 26 amendments to the Renters Reform Bill that demand much tougher financial penalties for errant landlords and stricter rules around deposits.

They are part of more than 100 pages of amendments which are largely made up of tweaks and clarifications made by the government as part of the legislation’s Parliamentary journey.

The Labour MPs, including shadow housing minister Matthew Pennycook (main image), are part of the Commons committee interrogating industry groups, and suggest that evictions shouldn’t go ahead if the tenant’s deposit was not protected properly in the first instance, meaning that it would be back to square one and a new notice served.

Currently in this situation, a landlord just has to pay the deposit back before they evict their tenant.

The MPs also want an amendment requiring the Secretary of State to explain - within six months of the bill getting assent - what constitutes anti-social behaviour, to help landlords determine when Ground 14 conditions have been fulfilled.

Maximum penalty

Other amendments include forcing landlords to join a landlord redress scheme, increasing the maximum penalty for not complying with the new register from £30,000 to £60,000 and setting the maximum amount of rent that could be lawfully requested (as a deposit) to five weeks’ rent for tenancies of less than £50,000 per annum but to six weeks’ rent for tenancies over £50,000.

They also want to prevent landlords from “inviting or encouraging bids” that exceed the amount stated when advertising a property.

Green MP Caroline Lucas has tabled two amendments, requiring Energy Performance Certificate details to be recorded within the looming online portal register, and a requirement for it to include the information necessary to “allow for the operation of a national system of rent controls with local flexibility following the design of such a system by an independent commission”.

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