A briefing paper on tenancy deposit schemes has been published by the House of Commons ahead of the Report Stage and Third Reading of the Tenant Fees Bill tomorrow.
Amendments can be made to the Bill at Report Stage, with the Amendments to be considered selected by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
The briefing paper on tenancy deposit schemes explains the duty on private landlords to protect tenants’ deposits and summarises how the schemes operate, including ongoing issues, such as non-compliant landlords; the length of time it can take to resolve disputes; and the persistent loopholes and abuses of the schemes.
The tenancy security deposits that tenants leave with landlords or their letting agents look set to be capped at a maximum of six weeks rent, because the government believes that they cause a significant affordability problem for tenants.
The existing tenant deposit system was recently described by Which? as “broken” and in desperate need of reform after a report revealed that one in six tenants are forced to wait more than four weeks to get their deposit back.
The study by the consumer group found that over half of tenants who did not get their money back challenged the decision and 31% had to pay a new security deposit before having their previous one returned.
Which? is now calling on the government to open up a review of the three approved deposit adjudication schemes operated by mydeposits, Deposit Protection Service (DPS) and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).
The organisation wants to see landlords forced to register with local authorities, with information logged on a publicly available database and linked to the existing register of rogue landlords and agents established in April 2018.
It is also calling for the creation of an independent regulator for lettings and management agents with a mandatory, legally binding code of practice and strong penalties for rogue operators.
But last month, the chief executive officer of mydeposits, Eddie Hooker, defended the existing system of deposit protection schemes following criticisms from Which?.
Hooker said that since the introduction of tenancy deposit protection schemes 12 years ago, operators in the sector have consistently delivered a good service for the majority of tenants.
He commented: “Whilst I recognise that the systems and processes of deposit protection may need updating to deal with today’s rental market, having carried out extensive research I do not believe that overhauling the current system in favour of, for example, no deposit insurance alternatives, offers any greater protection for tenants.”
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