A campaigning lettings agent says proposals to allow renters to transfer tenancy deposits between properties are to be welcomed – but will do little to improve the reality of renting.
Ajay Jagota of KIS properties and zero-deposit company Dlighted believes that so-called deposit passporting is “not a bad idea, just not a very good one”.
Some trade bodies and individuals, plus London mayor Sadiq Khan, have called for the passporting system to be introduced, allowing tenants to transfer tenancy deposits from one rented property to another. Tenants could top up or claim some of the deposit back, depending on the cost of the tenancy deposit on a new home.
But Jagota is unconvinced.
“It only works when deposits aren’t contested. If landlords and previous tenants end up in a lengthy deposit dispute, how can that money simultaneously be passed on to a new landlord? So the system doesn’t work when it’s needed most” he claims.
“After 10 years even the tenancy deposit establishment are finally admitting that the DPS system simply doesn’t work, but are still only proposing to fiddle around the edges of a system in need of comprehensive reform – and even the miniscule improvements they are proposing don’t seem to have been fully thought through.”
Jagota says transferable tenant deposits would in all likelihood make life easier for some people, but ultimately they would do little to tackle the fundamental problems inherent in the tenancy deposit system.
“From a tenant’s perspective it might make it easier to move from property to property, but it does absolutely nothing to make renting more affordable in the first place – and it still deprives average renters of more than £1,000, which many simply cannot afford, leaving some little choice but to settle for inadequate properties from inadequate landlords” he believes.
He says zero deposit systems not only save tenants having to find deposits, but makes it easier for them to move from one rented property to another by showcasing their track record and reliability as a renter.
“From a landlord’s perspective a traditional tenancy deposit simply doesn’t offer adequate protection against rent arrears or property damage, and hardly gives any help with any of the inevitable costs of renting out a property, from specialist cleaning to legal fees” he concludes.