A date for the final debate on the tenant fees ban has been announced by the government, suggesting that the legislation may become law earlier than expected.
Next week on Tuesday, 20th November, peers will have a final opportunity to debate the bill at Committee stage following a first sitting earlier this month in the Lords.
During this several peers moved for holding deposits to be capped at three days’ rent rather than the proposed limit of a weeks’ rent.
“A cap of one week’s rent will help to improve affordability for tenants, while ensuring that landlords are not unfairly penalised should the tenancy not proceed for reasons within the tenant’s control,” said Lord Bourne (right).
It was revealed during the debate that the average holding deposit charged by agents is £341, an equivalent of two weeks’ rent.
The amendment to reduce it to three days was rejected by Lord Bourne, the government’s housing minister in the Lords.
But he agreed to include new guidance within the bill that would urge landlords and letting agents to explain more clearly to tenants why they had lost their holding deposit.
This is particularly important when a group of house sharers all lose their deposit because one of them does not pass referencing, Lord Best pointed out.
After the 20th November debate, the Tenant Fees Bill will move to Report Stage on 5th December, which means it could attain Royal Assent before MPs leave for their Christmas recess on 20th December.
The Tenancy Fees Bill enjoys cross-party support and is relatively uncomplicated. It is likely therefore to become law two months after MPs return to parliament on 7th January, in early March.
The government has previously said it didn’t expect the bill to become law until early Summer next year.