November 5 is the next key date for the passage of the Tenants’ Fees Bill, the measure which is likely to result in the banning of letting agents’ fees levied on tenants.
That date is when it next comes to the House of Lords; this will be the committee stage, at which point the Bill is examined line-by-line.
The key issues likely to be discussed at committee stage are, firstly, the level of the cap on the security deposit: at earlier debates in the Lords, some members raised concerns that the cap should be reduced, possibly to four weeks rent.
Secondly there will also be debate on the inclusion of default fees with so-called ‘reasonable costs’. This has been raised by pressure groups such as Shelter ands Citizens’ Advice, which suggest the wording be tightened to prevent rogue agents inserting unnecessary charges in under the ‘reasonable costs’ banner.
Two further points likely to be debated at committee stage next month will be the grounds under which a holding deposit can be retained by the letting agent or landlord, and issues pertaining to homelessness - feared, by some, to be an inadvertent by-product of the ban on fees.
This stage of the Lords process takes usually between four and eight days - exceptionally even longer. Following this, the Bill goes to a Lords Report Stage and then a Third Reading, following which it moves to receive Royal Assent - and then it becomes law.
This remains scheduled for early spring next year.