The Welsh government is to go live with its controversial Renting Homes Wales Act on 15th July this year despite calls by landlords to ensure that it is ‘fit for purpose’.
Described by the country’s housing minister Julie James as the biggest shift in housing law in Wales for decades, it will usher in significant changes to the way landlords can evict tenants, issue tenancy contracts, and manage their properties.
This includes an already-in-place six-month notice requirement for a landlord to end a contract where the tenant is not at fault and a minimum ‘security of tenure’ of one year from the date of moving in.
This means that contract-holders in Wales will have the greatest protection from the start of their contract than in any other part of the UK, the minister claims.
The Act also gives protection against retaliatory eviction. If a landlord responds to a request for repairs by issuing a possession notice, they will no longer be automatically entitled to possession if the Court is satisfied the landlord issued the notice to avoid carrying out the repair.
Also, joint contract-holders can be added or removed from occupation contracts without the need to end one contract and start another.
This will make managing joint contracts easier and help those experiencing domestic abuse by enabling the perpetrator to be targeted for eviction.
Chris Norris, Director of Policy & Campaigns at the NRLA (pictured), says: “While we welcome the introduction of the Act, it is vital that the supporting legislation is fit for purpose and scrutinised sufficiently.
“In particular, the occupation contract terms, which all landlords must use, needs to improve significantly from its original consultation draft.
“These important steps must be taken before more complex regulations are introduced by the Welsh Government over the course of this year.”