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Landlords in Wales Advised to Prepare For New Legislation

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Significant changes to legislation in the rental housing sector in Wales come into force in less than two months.

Under the new law all existing tenancy agreements and licences will automatically convert to an “occupation contract” and, before 15th January 2023, the landlord will need to have provided to each tenant a written statement whose agreements have been converted.

And a Newport law firm says it is vital landlords take action now to prepare for the introduction of the new regulations.

B&A Managing Director Zep Bellavia

Both The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 and The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will come into force in mid-July on 15th July 2022.

The new regulations also add new health and safety responsibilities for landlords, particularly around the provision of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and electrical wiring. These new rules add to those included in the Renting Homes (Wales) Act of 2016.

From 15th July, rental homes will be deemed unfit for human habitation unless they have working smoke alarms fitted on every floor. Further, smoke alarms must be mains powered and interconnected with all other smoke alarms in the property.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be also fitted in any every room which has a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance installed.

The regulations also require landlords to ensure that there is a valid electrical condition report for each of their rental properties and that those in occupation have been provided with a copy by 15th July 2023.

Financial assistance may be available from the local authority for those properties that require significant work to be brought up to standard.

Newport-based law firm Bellavia & Associates acts for a number of landlords.

Managing director Zep Bellavia said ignorance of the new regulations would not be a defence for anyone who rents out properties.

He said:

“There are already a number of regulations in place that deem whether a property is fit for human habitation, covering issues such as damp and mould, exposure to excessive heat or cold, overcrowding, noise and lighting.

“These additional regulations quite rightly put even more responsibility on landlords for the safety of their tenants.

“Landlords can be caught out by changes to legislation and it is vital they prepare well in advance of July 15 and ensure any properties are brought up to standard.

“We will be making sure our landlord clients are fully informed ahead of the new regulations coming into force.

“Any landlords, or people considering buying to let, should seek legal advice to ensure their properties meet all regulations.”