London’s Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has repeated his criticism of the government’s decision to cap security deposits at the level of six weeks rent, rather than its original suggestion of four weeks.
The six-week proposal was set out in the draft version of the Tenants’ Fees Bill, issued last week and scheduled to go to the Commons for debate in the new year.
Khan says that in the Queen's Speech earlier this year, the government said it would cap deposits at one month's rent to help renters with up-front costs.
Khan actually argues for a cap at the equivalent of three weeks rent, a request echoed by charities Citizens Advice, Shelter and Crisis.
He says the six week proposal will see renters in London face up-front costs of about £2,000.
He is also urging holding deposits to be set at just one day's rent, around £50. However, the government now says a holding deposit will be allowed to be a week’s rent - some £340 in London, according to the Mayor’s figures.
Khan has also criticised the Bill for failing to introduce financial penalties for letting agents into line with those currently in place for landlords. He suggests they should be put on par with the £30,000 fines councils can use to punish rogue landlords for breaching housing legislation.
Instead the government has set the initial fine for breaking the law at £5,000.
“This government once again has proved it is all talk and no action when it comes to making it more affordable for those struggling to rent or buy a home. Ministers have bottled it on their commitment to reduce up-front deposits” he claims.