My hon. Friend makes a really important point. There is absolutely no point in this House taking through legislation, as good as it is, if it cannot be enforced because it holds no weight in law.
The inclusion of a one-week refundable holding deposit, on top of a month’s rent and six weeks’ tenant’s deposit, is allegedly designed to minimise instances of tenants securing multiples of properties at the same time before finally settling on their preferred property. There has been very little, if any, evidence that this is a regular practice. Additionally, the Government say that there are a number of exceptions to that deposit having to be refunded, including when the tenant provides false or misleading information. Again, although on the face of it, that is a sensible measure, there are no additional protections for tenants if the incorrect information is not their fault. For example, a reference that does not exactly match a tenant’s claims should not immediately mean that they lose that holding deposit. There is scope to develop a mechanism to test inaccuracy and establish the reasons behind it before immediately assuming information has been deliberately misleading.