What does appear to have happened as a result of the consultation period is that the now a six week deposit (maximum) has been proposed, whilst before the consultation a four week deposit was suggested. For us in London, a six week deposit has long been the norm, whereas outside London a month or four week rent deposit is more usual. The government is, quite rightly, trying to look after the consumer (the consumer in this case being tenants), and ensuring that they are not being priced out of finding suitable accommodation due to high moving costs. We believe that a six week deposit is a fair and proportionate upfront cost levied on tenants, as not only will it protect the landlord adequately if the property is damaged during the tenancy, it also gives a snapshot on whether the tenant has sufficient financial means to pay the rent throughout the tenancy. The point being, if a tenant struggles to pay one month’s rent in advance and a six week deposit upfront, what is the likelihood that they will struggle to pay the rent each month as its due? Also, historically, the reason six week deposits were introduced is to cover the frequent cases where tenants didn’t pay the last month’s rent, leaving landlords with precisely no financial protection if there was damage to the property.

We believe the true barrier to moving rental home is not the size of the deposit, but the size of the ‘administration’ fees charged by some agencies.

However, contrary to the Bill’s purpose, we do believe that a fair and proportionate charge should be levied on tenants to cover the cost of referencing and Right to Rent checks. As it stands now, it very much appears that the cost of these checks will in some way be borne by the landlord. How can it be just that a landlord is obliged to pay for checks on a tenant, where that tenant is knowingly being fraudulent or misleading on their suitability to rent (Right to Rent or prior tenancy behaviour) or their financial position. A landlord paying to find out a tenant is a fraudster? Why is the onus not on the tenant to prove that they are suitable?

We believe that a capped and standardised ‘Referencing’ charge of £50 per tenant is fair… and funnily enough that’s what we charge right now.

We absolutely welcome the idea that ‘tenancy agreement’ or ‘administration’ charges to tenants should be scrapped, and again, funnily enough, that’s why we don’t charge this type of fee to tenants, or indeed landlords.

Also on the table is mandatory membership of a client money protection scheme. This type of scheme guarantees tenants that their money (most normally rent or deposits) will be refunded to them if an agent goes out of business, or indeed spends it on a holiday or fleet of cars! Proper Local has voluntarily been a member of Client Money Protect since day 1.

The Property Ombudsman TSI Trading Standards Client Money Protection Rightmove Zoopla