The Welsh Government has announced that it intends to implement the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 on 15th July 2022. This will change the way that landlords in Wales rent their properties.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act represents the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades and is designed to increase protections for tenants and licensees and make it easier for people to rent a home.
Who is affected?
These changes will affect tenants and both landlords and letting/managing agents.
All social and private tenants will see some changes in the way their contracts are provided, in the way their homes are maintained and how they communicate with their landlords.
All social and private landlords, including those who rent their properties through management companies or agents, will need to comply with the new law and make the necessary updates to their properties and paperwork.
What are the Key Changes?
Some of the key changes included in the Act are:
Tenancy Agreements will be replaced by Occupation Contracts which must be provided in writing. There will be two different types of Occupation Contracts; the standard contract for the private sector and the secure contract which will be for the social sector such as community landlords, including local authorities.
The Act introduces a six-month notice period for a landlord to end a contract where the contract-holder is not in breach of the contract. In addition, as landlords will not be able to issue such a possession notice during the first six months of occupation, contract-holders will have a minimum security of tenure of one year from the date of moving in.
All Properties Must be Safe
The landlord must ensure all properties are fit for human habitation (FFHH). This includes carrying out electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted.
Landlords must also keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair and keep installations for the supply of water, gas or electricity and hot water in repair and proper working order.
The Act makes it easier for landlords to repossess abandoned properties. After serving a four week warning notice and carrying out investigations to satisfy yourself the property is abandoned, properties can be repossessed without needing a court order.
What Happens Next?
The Welsh Government will continue to provide updates and useful information to help you meet your obligations as a landlord or managing agent over the next few months.
A national awareness campaign will also be launched to ensure tenants and landlords are aware of the changes that will take effect once the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is implemented.