My Lords, Amendments 31 and 32 in my name seek to add two new sub-paragraphs to paragraph 8 of Schedule 1. The schedule is concerned with permitted payments and paragraph 8 is concerned with payments in respect of utilities. Amendment 31 seeks to place a requirement on the landlord to review the various utility contracts and switch tariffs or suppliers to one that would be the most beneficial to the tenant.
We are all aware that the utility market is competitive and that there is a whole range of offers and deals. If the landlord or letting agent is able to make a charge for utilities, it is not unreasonable to require them to do something about getting the best deal and the best value for the benefit of their tenant. Looking at the market to see what is available is not too onerous a task and a reasonable obligation.
Amendment 32 proposes that the amount charged to the tenant must be the reasonable costs incurred, and any excess would be a prohibited payment. This amendment seeks to close a potential loophole by restricting what can be charged to reasonable costs incurred. I beg to move.