After the first hearing of the Tenant Fees Bill this week, Labour is pushing for a maximum tenant’s deposit of just three weeks’ rent.
The Shadow Housing Minister, Melanie Onn, said in a tweet yesterday:
“Labour is fighting for a new three-week limit for rent deposits:
“The current deal for private renters is unacceptable – Labour in government would do more to protect them.”
Fellow committee member Jo Stevens MP also expressed support for motion, outlining in a tweet ’Tories just voted down our amendment to put a cap of 3 weeks rent on tenancy deposits for private renters. So much for PM’s promise to the ‘just about managing’ Hypocrites’.
Curtailing the power of private landlords and letting agents has been a consistent theme from the Labour Party, with its Scottish leader Richard Leonard unveiling new plans in March to introduce ‘stringent’ rent restrictions, controlling rent prices and limiting the power of private landlords. The proposed ‘Mary Barbour’ law aims to reform the private rental sector and help solve Scotland’s “housing crisis”.
Speaking after the Tenant Fees Bill Committee hearing on Tuesday, ARLA Propertymark chief executive David Cox said:
“As I laid out to the Public Bill Committee… the purpose of the deposit is to mitigate against unpaid rent and damage to the property.
“Many tenants do not pay the last month’s rent which is then covered by the security deposit.
“This amendment won’t allow for that, which risks leaving a landlord without the full final month’s rent or repairs for any damage.
“It’s not clear how this proposal of three weeks’ deposit has been worked out.”
The Bill has had its second reading in the Commons and during the committee stage, NLA CEO Richard Lambert also gave evidence.
Questioned by Rishi Sunak MP, the Minister for Local Government, Richard was asked for clarification regarding the NLA’s position on the appropriate level for the security deposit cap.
Richard stated that: ‘We would prefer not to have a cap at all. If the Government are determined to bring one in, six weeks is something that we think we can work with’.
Earlier in the proceedings, he had emphasised that the NLA advice to landlords is to charge a six week deposit, so that tenants do not see the deposit as their last month’s rent.