After pressure from Liberal Democrat Peers, the Government have today announced major concessions on the Tenant Fees Bill.
 
The amendments, published this evening, would significantly limit the fees that could be charged to a tenant by their landlord or lettings agent, require a greater amount of transparency when deciding not to refund a holding deposit, and limit the maximum security deposit a landlord can require to five weeks rent.
 
Responding to the Government amendments, Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson John Shipley said:
 
“It is good to see the Government have listened to the concerns we raised during the progress of the Bill. These amendments will make a huge difference for tenants, who will save hundreds of pounds every year.

”We also want to congratulate Shelter, Citizens Advice and Generation Rent who have worked so hard to get this Bill in the right place."

Many of the provisions in the Tenant Fees Bill were proposed in the previous session of Parliament by Lib Dem Peer Olly Grender, in her Renters’ Rights Private Members’ Bill.
 
Commenting on the changes to the Bill, Olly said:

“It is the vulnerable in our society who are most affected by the extortionate fees imposed by landlords and lettings agencies. The inability to pay these fees upfront can often lead to homelessness.

"While I welcomed the Government bringing forward this Bill, there were a number of outstanding issues that could have had severe consequences for low income tenants or tenants on benefits in the private rented sector. 

"There is still more work to be done to get tenants a fairer deal, but I am delighted that the Government have listened to our suggestions and others to improve this Bill. The task now is to get this change for tenants through as quickly as possible."

Notes


The relevant amendments tabled after Liberal Democrat pressure are below:

Schedule 1

Page 24, line 12, leave out “the amount of six weeks’ rent,” and insert “—
( ) the amount of five weeks’ rent, where the annual rent in respect
of the tenancy immediately after its grant, renewal or
continuance is less than £50,000, or
( ) the amount of six weeks’ rent, where the annual rent in respect
of the tenancy immediately after its grant, renewal or
continuance is £50,000 or more,”

Page 24, line 29, at end insert—
“(5) A payment of a holding deposit is not a permitted payment if—
(a) the landlord or letting agent to whom the deposit was paid has
previously received a holding deposit (“the earlier deposit”) in
relation to the same housing,
(b) the landlord or letting agent has not repaid all or part of the
earlier deposit, and
(c) none of paragraphs 5 to 11 of Schedule 2 have applied so as to
permit the landlord or letting agent not to repay the earlier
deposit or the part that has not been repaid.
4 Tenant Fees Bill
(6) The reference in sub-paragraph (5)(a) to a landlord or letting agent
receiving a holding deposit does not include the landlord or letting agent
doing so before the coming into force of Schedule 2.”

Page 24, line 33, leave out from “means” to end of line 36 and insert “—
(a) the loss of a key to, or other security device giving access to, the
housing to which the tenancy relates, or
(b) a failure to make a payment of rent in full before the end of the
period of 14 days beginning with the date (“the due date) on
which the payment is required to be made in accordance with the
tenancy agreement.”

Page 27, line 17, at end insert—
“ (1) The person who received the holding deposit must repay it if—
(a) that person believes that any of paragraphs 7 to 11 applies in
relation to the deposit, but
(b) that person does not give the person who paid the deposit a
notice in writing within the relevant period explaining why the
person who received it intends not to repay it.
(2) In sub-paragraph (1), “the relevant period” means—
(a) where the landlord decides not to enter into a tenancy agreement
before the deadline for agreement, the period of 7 days beginning
with the date on which the landlord decides not to do so;
(b) where the landlord and tenant fail to enter into a tenancy
agreement before the deadline for agreement, the period of 7
days beginning with the deadline for agreement.”

https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2017-19/tenantfees/documents.html

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