A housing development in Tottenham, North London

Mayor accuses Govt of ‘bottling it’ on rent pledges

02 November 2017

The Government has “bottled it” on pledges to help renters in London after it watered down plans to cap deposits for tenants, Mayor Sadiq Khan said.

In the Queen’s Speech earlier this year, ministers pledged to cap deposits at one month’s rent to help tenants with up-front costs.

However, ministers have now agreed to support a cap on deposits worth six weeks’ rent, as argued for by letting and estate agents - no different from the amount currently charged by many landlords in the capital.

“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,” Sadiq said.

“Ministers have bottled it on their commitment to reduce up-front deposits, which we know hit thousands of low-income Londoners the hardest," he said.

The Mayor wants the Government to cap deposits at three weeks’ rent - a call echoed by the charities Citizens Advice, Shelter and Crisis.

He is also calling for letting agents charging illegal fees to face a £30,000 fine or criminal prosecution, and for local authorities to be given more funding to enforce the penalties.

Sadiq has also proposed a cap on "holding deposits" – charges that cover the cost of references or losses in rent if a new tenant needs to be found – of one day’s rent, around £50.

However, the Government now says a holding deposit will be allowed to go as high as a whole week’s rent, which in London could be as high as £340.

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