Proposals to cap deposits paid by tenants at five weeks will play into the hands of rent cheats.
The RLA has issued the warning as The Sun reports on a leaked copy of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee‘s report into the Government’s Draft Tenant Fees Bill.
According to the paper, the Committee of MPs will recommend that deposits should be capped at five weeks rent, down from the six weeks proposed by the Government.
It also reports the Committee will recommend:
- Landlords and agencies should not be able to increase rents to compensate for banning fees – and ministers should set out guidance on what “reasonable fees” can be charged.
- Landlords should have to give a reason for evicting tenants to prevent them being removed for asking for house repair
- Trading Standards should be given the powers and resources to take action against landlords who evict tenants in ‘revenge’
These final points ignore the fact that evicting tenants simply for asking for house repairs is already illegal under the 2015 Deregulation Act.
The Sun quotes one unnamed MP as telling it that agencies should “not be allowed” to force extra costs onto renters to compensate for scrapping the fees.
Research by Residential Landlords Association (RLA) PEARL has found that 40 per cent of private landlords have faced tenants not paying their final month’s rent in the past three years.
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.”
The RLA’s written evidence to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry into the Draft Tenant Fees’ Bill can be accessed here.