In another attack on the private rented sector, the Government has announced an amendment to the Tenant Fees Bill, that will see security deposits capped at the equivalent of five weeks’ rent.
The cap will apply to all tenancies where the annual rent is less than £50,000. Properties garnering rents above £50,000 per annum will continue to be subject to a security deposit capped at the original six weeks’ rent.
Further amendments tabled by the Government clarify ‘default fees’ as charges for replacement keys or a respective security device, and late rent payments only. A late rent payment cannot be charged unless 14 days have passed since the tenant was due to pay their full rent and they have failed to do so. When considering each day the rent remains unpaid, late rent charges will be capped at 3% above the Bank of England base rate and any charge above this will be classed as a prohibited payment.
Another Government amendment seeks to include a new clause allowing 'payment of damages' as a permitted payment where the tenant has breached the terms of their tenancy agreement, or an agreement they have with their letting agent.
David Cox ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive said “Once again politicians are attacking the industry for their own purposes. Tenancy deposits have worked perfectly well for over a decade, and there is no basis in research that these amendments are necessary. This move will do nothing but push the most vulnerable in our society away from professional landlords and agents, and into the hands of rogue landlords and agents who will exploit them.”