Renting Homes (Wales) Act implementation date announced

The Act, which was first passed in 2016, represents the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades. It increases protections for tenants and contract-holders through the introduction of a single, clear framework.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, announced that the Renting Homes (Wales) Act will be implemented from 15 July 2022. Central to the Act, are two new occupation contracts that are to replace the current tenancy and licence agreements. These are:

  • a secure contract: the default contract issued by ‘community landlords’ (local authorities and registered social landlords); and;
  • a standard contract: the default contract for use by private landlords (all landlords other than community landlords)

Written statement of the occupation

Additionally, landlords will also be required to issue a written statement of the occupation contract to the contract-holder. The written statement must contain all required contractual terms:

  • fundamental terms cover the most important aspects of the contract, including the possession procedures and landlord’s obligations regarding repairs.
  • supplementary terms deal with the day-to-day matters applying to the occupation contract such as the requirement to pay rent on time or maintain a garden.
  • additional terms address specifically agreed matters

Several new requirements for landlords will come into force with the view of providing more support for tenants. This includes introducing six-month notice periods to end contracts where the holder is not at fault, landlords being unable to issue such possession notices during the first six months of occupation and contract-holders having a minimum of one year of security from their move-in date.

Contract-holders will also be protected from retaliatory evictions, as under the Act, landlords responding to a request for repair by issuing a possession notice will no longer be automatically entitled to possession if the Court is satisfied the landlord issued the notice to avoid carrying out the repair.

It will also be possible for joint contract-holders to be added or removed from occupation contracts without the need to end one contract and then start another in order to make the management of these contracts easier.

Communication and education will be key to the success of the new tenancy regime that the Renting Homes (Wales) Act brings.

The changes could be problematic if agents are not well versed, and we would suggest that agents prepare well in advance of July which is something we will be supporting our members through.

It remains to be seen how the changes to notice periods will affect the choices of both landlords and tenants as their access to flexibility is restricted.

Daryl McIntosh Policy Manager | Propertymark
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