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The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 – New Rules with Significant Implications for Landlords

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The Renting Homes (Wales) Act (the Act) was initially passed by the Welsh Government in 2016. Its aim was to simplify the existing tenancy legislation, making it easier for individuals to rent a home and giving them a bit more certainty.

However, the Act has remained unimplemented in part for the last five years. The Welsh Government has now announced that the Act will fully come in to force on 15 July 2022.

Here, Siôn Fôn looks at the main implications and changes brought in by the Act:

Changes to Tenancy Types – The Act will transform most tenancies and licences, such as assured shorthold tenancies in to either a ‘secure occupation contract’ (which is to be used by community and council landlords) or a ‘standard occupation contract’ (to be used by private landlords). Tenants will now be referred to as ‘contract holders.’

Changes to Landlord Types – As mentioned above, landlords will now be separated into two groups; community landlords which include local councils and housing associations and private landlords, which is anyone who is not a community landlord.

Occupation Contract Terms – The Act will introduce standard terms which must be included in every occupation contract. Such terms include the parties’ details and repair obligations. All landlords must also issue contract holders with a written statement setting out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and contract holder within 14 days of moving in. Failure to do so may cause the landlord to face a penalty.

Ending an Occupation Contract – The Act changes the rules on how a landlord can end an occupation contract. The current Section 21 Notice period, in which a landlord can evict tenants without fault, will be increased to six months. Such notice cannot be given until six months after the contract has started. Landlord break clauses will only be able to be included in occupation contracts which have a fixed term of two years or more, and the Landlord will not be able to exercise a break clause within the first 18 months.  This will likely lead to less tenants being forced to move without a good reason.

Repair and Condition – All rented properties must be fit for human habitation and the threshold will be based on the current Housing Health and Safety Rating System. In all occupation contracts, landlords will be required to keep the structure and exterior of the property in repair as well as keeping utility installations in proper working order.

Landlords will need to be aware of these changes and ensure that they comply with their new legal obligations. Tenants will need to ensure that they have the correct terms and can hold their landlord to account if they breach their obligations.

If you are a landlord and need advice on how these changes will impact you, get in touch with Siôn Fôn on 029 2082 9107 or [email protected], for a free, no obligation conversation to see how we can help you.