The security deposits that tenants leave with their landlord or their letting agent could be capped at no more than five weeks rent instead of six, as previously proposed by the government, according to a newspaper report.
The Sun claims to have seen a leaked copy of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee‘s report into the government’s Draft Tenant Fees Bill, which recommends that the maximum security deposits be reduced from the planned six weeks to just five weeks.
The newspaper also reports that the committee will call for action to stop landlords ‘chucking tenants out of their houses’ without an explanation, to ensure that they cannot be evicted for simply asking for repairs to the property.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has responded to the newspaper report by warning that plans to cap deposits paid by tenants at five weeks “will play into the hands of rent cheats”.
The trade body has also criticised the committee for reportedly recommending that Trading Standards be given the powers and resources to take action against landlords who evict tenants in ‘revenge’. The RLA says that this proposal ignores the fact that evicting tenants simply for asking for house repairs is already illegal under the 2015 Deregulation Act.
Research by RLA PEARL has found that 40% of private landlords have faced tenants not paying their final month’s rent in the past three years, and the fear is that lowering the cap would make it easier for the minority of tenants who cheat landlords out of the rent they owe as it will leave insufficient extra funds to deal with any major problems some tenants leave behind as well.
RLA chairman Alan Ward said: “Policy makers need to address the problem of tenants who fail to pay their rent with as much energy as tackling rogue landlords.
“Proposals to lower the cap on deposits paid by tenants will play into the hands of the minority of tenants who cheat those providing housing for them out of the rent they are legitimately owed.
“We see also little point in calling for new powers to prevent landlords evicting tenants simply for raising complaints about standards in properties when powers already exist to outlaw this practice.
“What is needed is not new law but councils better enforcing the large array of powers they already have to root out bad landlords and tenants.”