Tenant Fees Bill reaches the committee stage in the House of Lords

The Bill, introduced into Parliament in May of this year, is now at an advanced stage in the upper chamber, and will reach the committee stage in the House of Lords this afternoon.

The Bill will be scrutinised at the Lords grand committee today 5th November, as part of the process of introducing a ban on letting fees and the majority of other upfront fees payable by tenants to rent a property in England.

The proposed new law will also lead to a cap on the amount of refundable security deposit a tenant would be required to pay to the value of six weeks’ rent and cap the amount of holding deposit a tenant could be required to put down to secure a property to the value of one week’s rent. The Tenants’ Fees Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on October 10. The government firmly believes that the Bill will make renting properties in England fairer and more affordable for tenants by reducing the costs at the outset of a tenancy, at the same time as improving transparency and competition in the private rental market. The Bill would place a duty on trading standards authorities and district councils to impose new penalties on any landlord or letting agent found to be in contravention of them. These include a fine of £5,000 for a first breach, which would typically be viewed as a civil offence.

A further breach within five years, however, would be viewed as a criminal offence, and subject to an unlimited fine and a banning order offence under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.