Tenants’ Fees Bill set for House of Lords on Bonfire Night
Friday 19 October 2018
Remember, remember the Tenants Fees Bill?
A move to ban the fees levied on tenants by letting agents and landlords in England will be scrutinised in the House of Lords on Bonfire Night.
The controversial Tenants’ Fees Bill will be examined line-by-line when it reaches committee stage, on November 5.
The level of the cap on the security deposit will be considered, after some members raised concerns that the cap should be reduced, possibly to four weeks rent in earlier debates.
The inclusion of default fees with so-called ‘reasonable costs’ will also be raised after concerns from pressure groups such as Shelter and Citizens’ Advice.
These groups suggest the wording be tightened to prevent rogue agents inserting unnecessary charges in under the ‘reasonable costs’ banner.
The grounds under which a holding deposit can be retained by the letting agent or landlord, and issues pertaining to homelessness - feared, by some, to be an inadvertent by-product of the ban on fees - are also likely to be considered.
The Tenants’ Fees Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on October 10.
Several organisations representing landlords and letting agencies have raised concerns that the abolition of fees will result in rising rent levels.
Residential Landlords Association’s (RLA) Policy Director, David Smith said: “With warnings that the policy could lead to rent rises, there is a very real danger that whilst the cutting the upfront cost of renting, tenants will find themselves paying them through higher rents on a permanent basis."
Instead of banning letting agent fees paid to tenants, the RLA has been calling for immediate action to better enforce the law as it currently stands.
The committee stage of the Lords process takes usually between four and eight days, but can take longer.
Following this, the Bill goes to a Lords Report Stage and then a Third Reading, after which it moves to receive Royal Assent - and then it becomes law.
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