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Newsflash: MHCLG call for evidence on tenancy deposit reform

Tenancy agreement and keys from home in a real estate agency. Print publication

18/07/2019

Walker Morris’ Housing Management & Litigation specialists Karl Anders and Deborah Brown explain the UK Government’s call for evidence on potential tenancy deposit reform in the private rented sector.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has launched a call for evidence which seeks to inform the UK Government’s assessment of whether reforms should be made to the existing tenancy deposit scheme so as to improve mobility within the private rented sector.

James Brokensire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has emphasised the Government’s commitment to ensuring a fairer and more affordable private rented sector that provides security and protection for landlords and tenants alike. The Government’s view is that it can sometimes take too long for tenants to recover their deposits when moving out and they  struggle therefore to fund a deposit for their new home. The call for evidence is therefore intended to help the Government to understand (non-exhaustively):

  • whether there should be a deadline for landlords returning deposits
  • whether existing arrangements meets tenants’ needs or whether improvements can be made
  • the feasibility of “passporting” deposits when tenants are changing tenancies
  • the potential to improve aspects of the current process for protecting and returning deposits, including requirements for the provision of prescribed information and dispute resolution.

Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Practice at the National Landlords Association, has said “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 tenants’ money.”

The call for evidence is open until 5 September 2019 and can be accessed here.

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