Landlord associations have warned tenants who are currently receiving benefits or who own a pet that they could suffer under the Government’s amended plans to cut the new deposit cap from six weeks to five. The cap is being introduced as part of the new Tenants Fee Bill being implemented next year, and was originally set at six weeks.

However, after explaining that the deposit cap would provide greater affordability to tenants while minimising the risk financially to landlords, and allowing increased flexibility to accept tenants deemed at higher risk, this month the government did a U-turn, and announced that it had formally tabled the amendment in the Tenants Fee Bill. This comes after the government previously declared that despite seeing benefits of a five week cap in terms of increased tenant affordability, a six week rent cap would provide better support to tenants and landlords by providing landlords with increased financial flexibility.

Under this amendment, the cap will now be worth five weeks of rent, where the annual rent immediately after the tenancy is granted, renewed or continued, is under £50,000. A cap of six weeks’ worth of rent will be implemented where annual rent immediately after the renewal, continuance or grant of a tenancy is more than £50,000.

Policy Director at the RLA (Residential Landlords Association), David Smith, in response to the confirmation from the government that it has U-turned its decision to implement tenancy deposit caps at six weeks in favour of five, stated that this is unfortunate news for elderly and vulnerable tenants. He claims that these tenants will suffer – something which has previously been stated by Ministers when the six week cap was initially approved. He stated that at six weeks, the balance provided between affordability for tenants and financial risk to landlords would provide the confidence required for landlords to rent to high risk tenants. Ministers then went on to state that a five week cap would not offer this level of protection. Whilst circumstances seem to remain unchanged, the decision has now been altered.

Mr Smith went on to state that some tenants will now find it increasingly hard to secure a home to let. These vulnerable tenants would include those on benefits, as well as those who own pets, who are deemed higher risk.

The Tenant Fees Bill for England has passed its various stages through the House of Commons and is now nearing the final stages of deliberation within the House of Lords. The amendments to the Bill are due to be debated in mid-December in the House of Lords.

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