Plans to cap security deposits for private rented housing to six weeks rent risk creating a charter for rent cheats warns the country's leading landlord body.
Research by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has found that 40% of private landlords have faced tenants not paying their final month's rent in the past three years.
The new cap is proposed in the Government's Draft Tenant Fees Bill and the RLA is calling for this to be increased to eight weeks to cover the costs if the final month's rent is not paid and to ensure there are sufficient extra funds to deal with any major problems some tenants leave behind.
The RLA is also warning that the Bill risks becoming a missed opportunity to improve the position of tenants. It is calling for proposals to enable tenants to transfer deposits from one home to another rather than having to raise fresh funds each time they move as they wait for their last deposit to be paid back.
It also wants the tenancy deposit process to be brought into the 21st Century by enabling papers confirming that deposits have been protected to be sent to tenants electronically which currently cannot happen.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has again warned that plans to ban letting fees paid by tenants could lead to rent rises as a result of fees being passed on.
Commenting, David Smith, the Policy Director for the RLA said: "Ministers need to address the problem of tenants failing to pay rent every bit as strongly as rogue landlords. It is not unreasonable that landlords should have the security to know that funds are available to cover the uncceptable practice of tenants who do not pay their rent at the end of the tenancy and, in some cases, leave the property in an unacceptable state.
"In a quest for quick popularity, the Government's plans risk becoming a missed opportunity for fundamental reforms to improve tenant's ability to access rented housing."
The research findings are contained within a report by the Residential Landlord Association's (RLA) research exchange, PEARL. Almost 3,300 landlords responded to its questions.