Wales Delays Introduction of Controversial Renting Homes Act

Originally due to come into force in Wales on 15th July 2022, the Renting Homes Act will now be postponed until 1st December of this year. 

The five-and-a-half-month delay has been announced by the Welsh government in response to what it described as ‘representations from both private and social landlords’.

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The ways landlords can evict tenants, issue tenancy contracts, and manage their properties are all set to be affected by the act, which has divided opinion since it was first touted last year

What does the Renting Homes Act (Wales) cover?

When it comes into force:

  • ASTs will be replaced with newly-named occupation contracts or standard contracts, while ‘contract holder’ will replace the terms ‘tenants’ or ‘licensees’
  • There will be a six-month notice requirement for a landlord to end a contract where the tenant is not at fault
  • Minimum ‘security of tenure’ of one year from the date of moving in
  • Tighter rules on retaliatory evictions 
  • Easier management of joint tenancies

It states that landlord properties must also pass the minimum fit for human habitation (FFHH) test (which includes electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted, amongst other requirements).

It will also mean abandoned properties can be repossessed without any need for a court order.

More time needed for landlords

Welsh landlords argue that they need more time to prepare for these changes to come into force.

Adam Male, Chief Revenue Officer at Mashroom, said:

The delay of the Renting Homes Act till the 1st of December is likely to be well received by landlords in Wales, providing them with more time to digest the new legislation and to put measures in place to comply with the safety requirements. The new laws were implemented in January this year and provided landlords with just 6 months to prepare and familiarise themselves with the legislation coming into effect from the 15th July 2022. 

Mashroom ran a webinar in April 2022, to discuss the upcoming changes and found that many landlords were concerned by the requirements and didn’t feel they had enough time to get to grips with them. Males added that, ‘the 6 month deadline set by the Welsh government was unrealistic to achieve and likely to have seen many properties not complying with the new laws within that time frame. This delay also provides landlords in Wales with extra time to look at funds and costs for changes to their properties.’

Additional security for tenants

The extended notice period to end a tenancy agreement will naturally provide the tenant with more security, however, as Male points out, ‘it’s landlords who will be impacted by this new rule, particularly those who have a genuine reason to quickly repossess a rental property.’

Make the most of the additional time you now have to understand the changes. Given the changes to the notice periods and evictions, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you thoroughly reference your tenants before they move in!

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