The Tory led government announced in November 2017 a new Tenant Fees Bill. The new prospected law, set out within the frame of measures to tackle housing crisis and reduce homelessness, would make tenants in condition to access a rented property more easily as letting agency fees will be banned and deposits reduced to a maximum of six weeks.
Six to eight weeks payment in advance is, indeed, the amount many landlords already ask therefore, in most of the cases, apart from the little relief of the agency fee cut, the Bill will make no significant changes to a serious situation in which owners, property developers and real estate speculators/investors can freely impose uncapped high rents without any restriction.
Though the Bill is not tackling the unjustified and highly speculative skyrocketing rents prices, it makes that little promise improving both look and reputation of Conservatives who already reduced to rough sleeping hundred of thousands of young British citizens by abolishing housing benefits for under 21 years old (only recently reintroduced after eight years following social and political uproar and international human rights concerns).
Meanwhile the undefended population of renters can content themselves of long term declaration of intention: zero wage growth, recession, pound devaluation and growing inflation rates are paralysing rent market with tenants stuck in exploitative condition and facing precarisation through shorthold tenancies and rent increases: a six to eight weeks deposit required in advance keep low income employees and families out of the rent market. Reducing, therefore, deposits from to six weeks is an impactless measure and a demagogic manoeuvre only worth the headlines of some sympathising media.
But after all, we have to wear the shoes of the majority: how many are property owners and developers/speculators in the UK? More than tenants for sure, therefore politicians are doing their jobs: ‘respect the will of the majority’ and feed this majority protecting their interests to ensure a wider and increasingly stable platform of right sided conservative voters and supporters.
The iter, anyway, is in due course: the new tenant’s Bill will be not introduced until mid 2019: the Draft Tenant Fees Bill was introduced to Parliament in November 2017, after a six week industry consultation. It still has to be scrutinised by the Lords. After the Royal Assent, in the end, we will have one more new law to protect lower income earners: pity there are no funds to enforce it. As stressed during the last Tenant Fees Bill hearing (Fifth sitting of the Public Bill Committees), there are no fundings allocated for enforcement of the new Bill. Local authorities agreed that funding through fines will not cover the cost of enforcement and initial fines of up to £5,000 will not give local authorities the resources to prevent breaches, plus the 500K mentioned in the body of the bill are a ridiculous amount when splitted over 340 local authorities.