Tenant Fees Bill - Committee (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:22 pm on 20th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Housing) 4:22 pm, 20th November 2018

My Lords, as this is my first contribution to the proceedings, I draw the attention of the House to my relevant interest as a vice-president of the Local Government Association.

This group of amendments covers Schedule 1 to the Bill, specifically around issues of changing or terminating the tenancy agreement. Amendment 28 is in my name and I have also put my name to Amendments 29 and 30, while I support the intention behind Amendment 27 in the names of the noble Baronesses, Lady Grender and Lady Thornhill. Amendment 27 would cap the amount that could be charged for a change in tenancy to £50, and that seems very reasonable. As the noble Baroness, Lady Grender, said, otherwise the £50 becomes a floor rather than a ceiling. The problem with the clause as worded is that it leaves the way open for a large amount to be charged. I think that that is unfair and not reasonable.

My Amendment 28 seeks to ensure that in a situation where the only change is that of a tenant, a charge cannot be made. I hope that the Government will agree that there is no loss of rental income if you are just replacing one name with another, and to allow a charge to be made in that situation seems very unfair.

Amendment 29 would require the landlord to react reasonably to any request for an early exit, including when taking steps to relet the property. If they do not do so, this payment would be a prohibited payment, for all the reasons that we have heard in this short debate. Amendment 30 seeks to provide better clarification than is provided by the schedule as presently worded.