Changes in deposit now to be included in Tenant Fee Bill

'Bristol Res' Blog • 06 December 2018

Changes in deposit now to be included in Tenant Fee Bill

The Government performed a U turn earlier this week by announcing an amendment to the Tenant Fees Bill, that will see security deposits capped at the equivalent of five weeks’ rent.  Earlier this year assurances were given to the letting industry that a deposit equal to six weeks rent would be approved.
A summary of the changes the bill will currently make can be found by clicking here.

The cap will apply to all tenancies where the annual rent is less than £50,000. Properties receiving rents above £50,000 per annum will continue to be subject to a security deposit capped at the original six weeks’ rent.

The industry fears that should a tenant not pay their last months rent then there is very little left to cover any damage or cleaning that might be required.

In addition 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 (currently at 0.75%); any charge above this will be classed as a prohibited payment.

It also appears that there is no longer a provision to be able to charge for the work involved in allowing an individual tenant to leave a house share early and finding a replacement.
David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark responded to the news by saying: “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.”

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association said: “In doing a complete about turn on this, it is unfortunately vulnerable and elderly tenants who will suffer, just as Ministers stated when they initially approved a six week cap. Those who will now find it more difficult to secure a home to rent will include those on benefits and those who have a pet as a companion.
“In May, Ministers argued that a cap of six weeks offered a balance between affordability benefits and financial risk to landlords and providing confidence for them to rent to higher risk tenants. They considered that a 5 weeks cap did not offer that protection. Nothing appears to have changed since so Ministers were right then and wrong now.”

A summary of the changes the bill will currently make can be found by clicking here.

Just lettings, just Bristol 

New app to help you park – launches in Bristol

An app to help people find parking spaces is being piloted in Bristol after its launch this week. Parklook allows users to share information with each other when arriving or leaving parking spaces.

The idea, says creator Alexey Shinkarenko, is to reduce the time wasted searching for parking as well as cutting down pollution and traffic congestion.

The city was selected in response to the release of Bristol City Council’s draft Transport Strategy, which states that “on and off street parking needs to be managed efficiently”.  The pilot scheme will centre around the Gloucester Road in Bishopston and North Street in Southville.

Alexey said: “Bristol is a forward-looking city with a strategic vision for the future, a core element of which is to improve movement of people and services city wide.  We hope that this app will contribute to successful development of one aspect of this strategy.

Its estimated that at certain times of day, up to 35 per cent of congestion is as a result of drivers circling for a roadside parking space.
According to traffic information supplier Inrix Bristolians spend 46 hours a year looking for parking, .

Parklook will be used to test user experience and opinion ahead of a planned national launch next year.

Just lettings, just Bristol