UK rental market

MPs are calling for a limit on deposits for renters

Under the proposed rule, landlords wouldn't be allowed to ask for more than the equivalent of five week's rent

A group of MPs are calling for a cap on the amount your landlord can charge you as a deposit, of no more than the equivalent of five weeks' rent.

What it means: It's all part of a new draft bill (which could become law) banning letting agent's fees. The bill limits what you have to pay up front to six-weeks' rent as a 'security' deposit (in case you break anything) and a 'holding' desposit of one week's rent (in case you change your mind about renting the flat).

These MPs are arguing that six weeks is too much, and could put tenants in financial difficulties. Capping the deposit at five weeks would make the private rental sector more affordable, they're saying, which could ease the pressure on social housing.

But landlords say a lower cap will mean more 'risky' tenants (people who've got pets, say) will be rejected because landlords won't have the possibility of taking a higher deposit to cover for damage.

As more and more people rent housing from the private rental sector, the government's come under a lot of pressure to introduce rules that make it fairer, and a more viable long-term option. It's all about the balance of power between renters and landlords: when rental homes are in short supply, landlords don't have much incentive to keep prices affordable and conditions good, without rules to protect tenants (like caps on deposits).

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