Provided the Bill receives royal assent in the coming weeks,
it will become law in England from 1st June 2019.
MPs discussed Lords amendments to the Bill in Parliament
yesterday (23rd January 2019).
The Bill aims to:
make renting fairer and more affordable for tenants
by reducing costs at the outset of a tenancy
improve transparency and competition in the
private rental sector
ban lettings fees paid by tenants in England
improve fairness, competition and affordability
in the lettings sector
The Shadow Housing Minister, Melanie Onn MP, believes that
the measures in the Bill are “on the whole” positive for private tenants.
On her amendment that reduces the security deposit cap to
“three weeks’ rent for all”, Onn told the Commons: “This Bill doesn’t reach its
full potential in protecting tenants from unscrupulous landlords who want to
charge unfair fees”, even with the Government having proposed a reduction of
the cap from six to five weeks’ rent.
Conservative MP Bob Blackman explains that he was chairing
the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee during pre-legislative
scrutiny of the Bill, adding that he is “absolutely delighted” that the
Government has endorsed all of its recommendations.
This includes the reduction from six to five weeks’ on the
deposit cap, which “strikes a balance” between tenants’ and landlords’
No one on the Committee promoted less than four weeks, he
stated, despite the Shadow Housing Minister pushing for this.
He believes that tenants would end up “far worse off” as a
result of this change, as landlords would be likely to inflate rents to make up
SNP MP Angela Crawley welcomes the Tenant Fees Bill, despite
it not applying to Scotland.
She noted that the Scottish Government abolished tenant fees
in 2011 and has seen “the positive effects of this”.
Crawley added that holding deposits are now also illegal in
Scotland, calling for this to be rolled out to the rest of the UK.
The Government’s decision to accept a Lords amendment
calling for the deposit cap to be reduced to five weeks’ rent is “very
welcome”, she insisted, concluding that the Bill will be “a great help” to
those within the private rental sector.
Kevin Hollinrake, a Conservative MP, declared his interest
as a landlord and former estate agent, saying that he has concerns about the
reduction of deposit lengths to five weeks’ rent, as, if it doesn’t work for
landlords, they will “exit the market”, which will make life more difficult for
tenants in the long-run.
At the moment, there is flexibility, he said, so it’s really
important that this change is made under review.
The Lords “meant well” in some of their amendments, he
added, but might have unintended consequences.
David Cox, the Chief Executive of ARLA
Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents), comments on the
completion: “The tenant fees ban is
now an inevitability, and agents need to start preparing for a post-tenant fees
world. Following its passage in the House of Lords last week, this afternoon,
the Tenant Fees Bill passed its final hurdle in the House of Commons. The Bill
will now receive royal assent in the coming few weeks, before being passed into
law and implemented on 1st June 2019.”
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