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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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MP looks to protect tenants in rented accommodation

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Meg Munn MP is supporting the Government’s attempts to stop rogue landlords from unethically withholding deposits from tenants in rented properties.

Tenants usually pay a deposit when entering an agreement with a landlord, there can be problem when the tenant decides to move on and have their deposit refunded. The Government is examining the extent of the problem and if new legislation is needed to protect tenants.

The Housing in England Survey 1999/00 found that, for tenants whose tenancy had begun since the beginning of 1993 some 71% (or 1.2million) had paid a deposit.  Landlords are increasingly requiring deposits for new tenancies.

The mean amount of deposit in most recent housing surveys was £400-450.

Government statistics (from the Survey of English Housing 2001-02) show that 20% of private tenants of tenancies in which a deposit was taken, consider their landlord unreasonably withheld their deposits in part or in full.

Labour MP Meg Munn said:

“This is an important issue and hitherto has been under-regulated allowing rogue landlords to keep the deposits of good tenants for the most spurious of reasons. We are looking at ways of making sure that tenants get a fair deal from their landlords and that deposits are only retained when there is a genuine problem.

“We also recognise that some tenants can cause problems for landlords, especially with anti-social behaviour that can impact on a whole neighbourhood. I am committed to tackling anti-social behaviour in every area including that among tenants. We are very conscious of the detrimental effect anti-social tenants can have on their neighbours and sometimes the wider community. 

“This is why any new plans have to be carefully considered so that they are appropriate, effective and easily workable. I am pushing the Government on this and they are looking at this problem and examining several options including passing new legislation to protect tenants’ rights. We are considering whether Tenancy Deposit Schemes could be included in a new Housing Bill or in a Law Commission Bill on renting homes.

“I believe addressing the problem of unfairly withheld tenant deposits is in the interests of tenants and landlords across the country and will make a dramatic difference to the many thousands of people who are renting properties in Sheffield.”

Meg Munn MP added:

“There is a general agreement amongst tenants, landlords and agents that the way in which deposits are generally managed was open to abuse by a minority of unscrupulous landlords and agent. The government is looking to end this abuse once and for all.”

Other ideas being considered include:

?         promoting model agreements to provide simple, transparent written agreements between landlords and occupiers;

?         ensuring that the rights and responsibilities for landlords and occupiers are clear and fair from the outset by requiring their incorporation into the written agreement.

?         a clear statement of the minimum standard of behaviour expected of everyone who occupies rented property;

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