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Deposit cap could leave landlords high and dry

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says that plans to cap security deposits for private rented housing to six weeks rent risk creating a charter for rent cheats.

The Government’s Draft Tenant Fees Bill is proposing the six-week cap but the RLA says this should be increased to eight weeks to protect landlords. Their own research found that in the past three years, 40% of private landlords have had challenges with tenants not paying their final month’s rent.

The RLA believes that an eight-week cap will help cover the costs if the final month’s rent is not paid as well as making sure there are sufficient extra funds to deal with any major problems after a tenant has left.

Improving the position of tenants

The RLA also believe that the Bill risks becoming a missed opportunity to improve the position of tenants. They are calling for proposals to enable tenants to transfer deposits from one home to another when they move. This will save them having to raise fresh funds while they wait for their last deposit to be paid back.

There are also calls for the tenancy deposit process to be brought up to date by enabling papers confirming that deposits have been protected are sent electronically to tenants (which currently cannot happen). 

Commenting, David Smith, the Policy Director for the RLA said: “Ministers need to address the problem of tenants failing to pay rent every bit as strongly as rogue landlords. It is not unreasonable that landlords should have the security to know that funds are available to cover the unacceptable practice of those tenants who do not pay their rent at the end of the tenancy and, in some case, leave the property in an unacceptable state.

“In a quest for quick popularity, the Government’s plans risk becoming a missed opportunity for fundamental reforms to improve tenants’ ability to access rented housing.”