MHCLG consults on tenancy deposit reform

MHCLG consults on tenancy deposit reform

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Richard of National Landlords Association pictured at their offices London SE1, 29 01 2008 commission : NLA pics and copyright : Nick Cunard

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will be consulting on reforms to tenancy deposits that will help tenants move more easily.

The call for evidence closes on September 5.

The consultation will be evaluating the feasibility of passporting deposits when tenants are changing tenancies. Currently, tenants face increasingly high costs when taking up new tenancies because they are unable to reclaim existing deposits before signing up to a new tenancy. The Government has indicated that the submissions will build on the work of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Working Group to ensure that changes offer protection to both landlords and tenants.

The NLA has sat on the Tenancy Deposit Protection Working Group and has emphasised that deposit passporting needs to be carefully designed to ensure that landlords are not disadvantaged from making valid claims.

Chris Norris, director of policy and practice at the NLA, said: “We must make sure that adequate thought is given to the needs of both tenants and landlords. Everyone agrees that moving between tenancies should be made easier and cheaper, but we also need to recognise why landlords take deposits. A deposit protects against damage or default, so landlords must be confident their costs are covered before releasing the tenants’ money.”

The call for evidence also asks for views on existing and potential affordability initiatives, and the current process for protecting and returning deposits, including requirements for prescribed information and the dispute process.

Datasets provided by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) revealed that the average speed of returning the deposit is slower when the landlord does not initiate the repayment process. When initiated by a landlord the process takes 29 days compared to 39 days when the tenant triggers the process.

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