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Minister gives notice of ‘biggest change to Welsh housing law for decades’

15 Jan 2022 4 minute read
Minister for Climate Change Julie James. Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

A Welsh Government minister has announced the implementation of a new housing act meaning tenants and landlords will see significant changes from July this year.

Julie James, Climate Change Minister, has announced her intention to implement the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 on Friday, 15 July 2022.

The announcement has been made today in line with the Welsh government promise to give landlords six months’ notice of the new rules, which are now available on its website 

The act will mean that tenants will have secure tenancies for a minimum of 12 months and the period of notice of intention to take possession of a property will be extended from two months to six months.

This makes permanent the temporary extension that came into place under Covid pandemic regulations and will apply to situations where there is ‘no fault’ by the tenant, such as rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

As well as the one-year secure tenancy and extended notice period, tenants will be better protected against retaliatory evictions when a landlord seeks to evict rather than tackle repairs or respond to complaints about poor conditions.

The legislation will also make it easier to manage joint tenancies so that tenants can be added or removed from ‘occupation contracts’ without the need to end one contract and start another.

This will help those experiencing domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour by enabling the perpetrator to be targeted for eviction.

Security

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “This Act represents the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades.

“The Act will make it simpler and easier to rent a home in Wales, replacing various, complex pieces of existing legislation and case law with one clear legal framework.

“When in place, contract-holders in Wales will have greater security of tenure than in any other part of the UK.

“The way we rent in Wales will become simpler and more transparent this year.”

The Welsh Government has also launched a national awareness campaign that will ensure both landlords and tenants are aware of the changes that will take effect from July 2022.

Some of the main changes brought in by the Act will include:

  • All landlords being required to provide a written copy of the occupation contract to the tenant (called the ‘contract-holder’ in the legislation). This  sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
  • ‘No-fault’ notice periods increasing from two months to six months. It will no longer be possible to issue a notice in the first six months, meaning all contract-holders will have a minimum 12 months of security at the start of their tenancy.
  • An strengthened duty on landlords, to ensure the property they rent is fit for human habitation including the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and regular electrical safety testing.
  • Addressing the practice of ‘retaliatory eviction’ (whereby a landlord serves notice on a tenant because they ask for repairs or complain about poor conditions).
  • The introduction of a consistent approach across sectors to eviction where antisocial behaviour and domestic violence, occurs.

Problematic

Speaking to the residential agents’ site, The Negotiator, Daryl McIntosh Policy Manager at Propertymark, which is the professional body for the property sector, warned that the changes could prove challenging and problematic.

He said: “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.”


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Cath Hill
Cath Hill
8 months ago

A bold and useful step to help tenants. I think we can see why Cymru and our government are rarely spoken about and actively ignored by the Saesneg Labour Party and media: Our government creates solutions without deferring to the landlord and management classes.
I know its not exactly free social housing for all but at least the poor souls being terrorised by unscrupulous landlords (there is no such thing as a good landlord) have a bit more security. A big win for anyone renting a property as a home.

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago
Reply to  Cath Hill

That must be one of the most idiotic comments I’ve read in a long time. ” there is no such thing as a good landlord” smacks of either a complete lack of awareness or a sweeping generalised hatred. Either way it should not be the basis for any policy going forward. That there are some bad landlords is undeniable, it’s about as valid as saying that some people walk with a limp. So too is a statement that some tenants are shockingly bad, but we have to be glad that most if not all conduct themselves in an orderly fashion.… Read more »

John Young
John Young
8 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Correct. What Cath said was incredibly stupid. There are good and bad landlords just as there are good and bad tenants. Because of that I would have liked to have read what measures are in place to protect said good landlords from bad tenants. As well as rules to protect tenants from unfair eviction there should also be rules to enable the eviction quickly of bad tenants.

Aled Rees
Aled Rees
8 months ago

good move by llywodraeth Cymru.But I have to take issue with Cath.there are good landlords out there,maybe she hasent come accross them but I assure her they are there.

Grayham Jones
8 months ago

The Labour Party and Plaid Cymru have got to start fighting for wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop all second homes in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh incomers in wales will not vote for the Labour Party or Plaid Cymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 don’t be afraid of upsetting the English incomers start fighting for wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Carol Loughlin
Carol Loughlin
8 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Your copy and paste responses are becoming very tedious. If you read and understand the article you will see that the Welsh Government is doing exactly as you have advocated.

BobSnail
BobSnail
8 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

A sweeping statement made there which is just wrong! Some English incomers do vote for Plaid Cymru and learn Cymraeg. Don’t just sweep them aside as they are proud of being part of their local Welsh community.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
8 months ago

Having had a fairly quick browse through the information on the Welsh goverment site referenced in the article I am struck by how mudane and obvious most of the requirements on landlords are. The eyebrow raising ones are the provision on landlords to think about how to protect the tenant from explosion, building collapse and injury from catching body parts in doors and windows. Just what do they think a landlord would be doing to put the tenant in risk of an explosion? (The Gas safety certificate and regular servicing of appliances is surely done regularly) If the building is… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Peter Cuthbert
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
Brechfa Smythe _ Rhydderch
8 months ago

Shallow and without substance. Dripford all over.

Popsie online
Popsie online
8 months ago

No-fault notice period extended from two months to six months -that’ll be six months without payment of rent.

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