It was announced yesterday that the Government is willing to consider plans for a deposit passporting scheme.
This scheme would allow tenants to transfer rental deposits from one letting agent or landlord to another if they decide to move homes.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has made a call for evidence, inviting those in the property sector to leave feedback and suggestions.
In the forward of the document, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire says: “I am committed to making the process for tenants getting their deposit back much smoother. I want to understand whether there should be a deadline for landlords returning deposits.
“I also want to look at whether existing initiatives are meeting tenants’ needs and whether the market can offer improved products. Alongside this, I want to look more widely at whether innovative approaches to helping tenants move more easily, including allowing tenants to passport their deposit between tenancies.
“It is important that good landlords have the confidence to let out their properties safe in the knowledge that a deposit will provide them with reasonable protection from damages to their property. Any improvements to the way deposits are returned at the end of a tenancy will need to ensure that deposits still serve this purpose and that deposit protection continues to work well for both tenants and landlords.”
Em Morley, Editor of Landlord News and the blog of our sister company, Just Landlords, comments: “The Government’s announcement to consider the passporting of deposits between tenancies is welcome news.
“Tenants can find themselves in a difficult position financially when looking to move from one home to another. Now that the Tenant Fees Act is in place, renters in England are experiencing a more straightforward process, due to the ban on additional fees by letting agents and landlords. However, having to put forward the sum of five weeks’ rent, plus a holding deposit, when your previous deposit is still locked in a protection scheme has its financial strains.
“As long as a practical system is put in place to support this idea, it could really make a difference. A more automated process such as passporting will not only make moving a simpler task for tenants but will hopefully also result in less admin work for landlords and letting agents.”