Tenant Fees Bill debated in the House of Lords
The Tenant Fees Bill was debated in the House of Lords yesterday, as part of its passage through Parliament.
This was the first opportunity for peers to discuss the Bill and there was broad support for it from all sides of the House. A number of issues were raised by peers for further discussion at Committee stage, when any amendments to the Bill will be debated.
The issues raised that will be considered at Committee stage are:
- the level of the cap on the security deposit – this is currently six weeks and the Government has defended this level in the Commons. A number of peers raised concerns that the cap should be reduced, although there were also comments warning of the risks to landlords in limiting the deposit to four weeks’ rent, particularly given some tenants do not pay their last month’s rent
- the inclusion of default fees with ‘reasonable costs’ covered – peers queried whether the provisions in this section of the Bill could be misused by unscrupulous agents and landlords and argued that this section of the Bill needs to be tightened
- clarification on the holding deposit and the grounds under which this can be retained by the letting agent or landlord
- avoiding impact on local authority incentive payments for preventing homelessness – concerns were raised that the Bill could inadvertently ban these.
We will be continuing to advocate that the cap on security deposits should not be reduced from six weeks, as well as defending landlords’ ability to charge default fees to recover their costs where this is incurred by the tenant’s actions.
The Bill will next be debated in the House of Lords at Committee stage on Monday 5 November.