Housing Supply and Rents Regulation and Enforcement Research

Deposit cap plans ‘a charter for rent cheats’

letting agent fees
Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

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.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • on subject of deposits and rogue tenants using them for last months rent and leaving no monies for damage etc…

    simple rule of First and last month rent in advance on top of the security /damage deposit would elevate the loss of last monhsrent?
    But will the deposit limit also apply to extra pet deposits? We allow tenants to keep pets at some of our rentals providing they pay a separate and extra deposit for any pet damage caused to carpets walls and gardens etc. This has proven vital with current tenants who have 2 large dogs and the garden and fencing has been decimated completely by the dogs. The deposit will be used to return the lawn and replace the fencing if tenants do not voluntarily do so before leaving.
    Sometimes I feel the law is all on the tenants side and never for the landlords who are actually providing a service.

    • My understanding is that, when the new rules come in, you will be unable to change anything above the capped deposit, even if your tenants have pets.
      The RLA has pointed out to government that this will undoubtedly have the effect that landlords will be less likely to rent to people with pets – and other more ‘high risk’ tenants.

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