The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 comes into force on the 15th July 2022. The Act is set to fundamentally change how landlords operate in Wales and is intended to simplify how to rent a property.
What are the changes?
Changes to tenancies
Most current tenancies in the private sector are assured or shorthold assured. Tenancies in the public sector include secure tenancies. These will be replaced by secure contracts in the public sector and Standard Occupation Contracts in the private sector. Tenants will now be known as `contract holders` and from July, contract holders will be able to enjoy a minimum of one year`s secure tenancy. The changes will apply retrospectively to existing tenants and licencees.
Changes to tenancy terms
New standard terms will be introduced under the Act. These standard terms must be included in every occupation contract. Landlords will now have to issue contract holders with a `written statement` within 14 days of moving in. The written statement must clearly set out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and contract holder. Failure to provide such a written statement in the required time frame or the provision of an inadequate or inaccurate statement may result in penalties. The written statement should include the following: –
- Full names and addresses of the parties;
- Fundamental terms such as possession procedures and the landlord’s obligation regarding repairs;
- Supplementary terms to include day to day matters;
- Additional terms (e.g. keeping pets or making alterations);
- Standard terms explaining the meaning and importance of the contract document and terms within.
Under the Act, the rules on ending a contract are changing. The main changes are as follows:
- The notice period required under `no fault` grounds currently known as a Section 21 Notice will be increased to 6 months. The new notice will now be known as a section 173 notice.
- The landlord is not able to issue a no-fault eviction notice until 6 months after the start of the contract.
- The landlord can only issue a no-fault eviction notice if they have complied with statutory requirements such as registration, deposit protection and health and safety requirements
- Landlord break clauses allowing the landlord to terminate a tenancy before the end of the fixed term will only be permitted to be incorporated into a contract if the contract is for more than 2 years. Equally, a landlord will not be able to rely on any break clause within the first 18 months of the commencement of the tenancy.
Repairs and conditions of rented properties
All rented properties must be fit for human habitation. The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 has set out framework which must be considered when determining if a property is fit for human habitation. This framework includes but is not limited to:
- Crowding and space;
- Mould and damp;
- Temperature (for example when the temperature falls below the acceptable level),
Contract holders will now gain protection from what is known as revenge evictions. These may occur when a contract holder has requested repairs or raised concerns regarding the condition of the property. Landlords will no longer be automatically entitled to possession if the court is satisfied that the landlord has issued an eviction notice with a view to avoiding their statutory requirements.
Under the new Act, contract holders can be added or removed without the need to end one contract and start another. It is expected that the new legislation will make it easier for victims of domestic violence to remove a perpetrator from occupation.
The new act also has some benefits for landlords as it allows landlords to repossess an abandoned property without needing a court order, enabling the property to be re-let more quickly. The landlord begins the process by serving a notice informing the tenant that they intend to end the contract and requiring the tenant to confirm in writing within 4 weeks that they have not abandoned the property. If, at the end of the notice period, the landlord is satisfied the property is abandoned, they can treat the contract as ended without the need for a court order.
For further information or advice please contact Gwyndaf Pari on 01492 532385 or by emailing email@example.com