Private landlords back lifetime deposit scheme

The UK’s leading private landlord trade body has backed government plans to introduce lifetime deposits for tenants.

The UK’s leading private landlord trade body the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has backed government plans to introduce lifetime deposits for tenants as they move around the privately rented sector. This means that all major sectors of the private rented sector (PRS) now agree that lifetime deposits would be a good idea including agent, tenant, regulatory and landlord groups.

The NRLA’s just-published New Deal for the PRS document explains why the government’s plan to create a portable tenancy deposit for millions of tenants across England and Wales is a good idea. The key point is that lifetime deposits will release tenants from the challenge of having to finance two deposits when moving home due to being required to put a new deposit down at their next home while waiting for their old deposit to be released.

The report did come with one important caveat, however,  warning ministers that the scheme must not discourage landlords from making claims against tenants who leave with rent arrears or who have damaged a property.

“This could arise when a tenant transitions from one rental property to another, and where part or all of the deposit they paid is required to cover or is being disputed as a result of damage to a property,” the NRLA says. “The scheme must protect the new landlord in such circumstances.”

Propertymark, the leading trade body for property agents, agrees on the ‘double deposit’ point, saying in a statement: “An inability to find these additional funds is a huge drawback of the current system as it slows the market down; something which introducing a lifetime deposit could easily solve.”

Alicia Kennedy, director of lobbying group Generation Rent, added: “It is difficult to save five weeks’ rent to put down a deposit when your existing one is tied up in the current property. The government must also make sure the process of getting your deposit back is fair, to give renters trust in the system.”

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