Propertymark has welcomed the Welsh government’s commitment that private landlords shouldn’t have to refer tenants at risk of homelessness.
However, landlords currently can’t get rent guarantee insurance – protection when tenants don’t pay their rent - without referencing the tenant involved. Propertymark tells LandlordZONE that this issue wasn’t discussed in the consultation, but that it would raise it with the Welsh government.
The Senedd’s White Paper designed to tackle homelessness in Wales also includes measures amending current homelessness legislation, how Welsh public services can tackle homelessness, helping those disproportionately affected by homelessness, and improving housing access in general.
Propertymark believes the legislation will tackle homelessness in the country, especially a measure to increase the time when a person is regarded as homeless from 56 days to six months, which would broadly align the legislation with the Renting Homes Wales Act 2016.
The group also supports the Welsh government’s intention to eliminate the intentionality test from legislation, so it is no longer used in deciding whether an applicant is entitled to the prevention and main duties.
Propertymark suggests collaborating with lettings agents and private landlords to maintain a database of adaptable properties that would help local councils find people appropriate accommodation.
Tim Thomas, policy and campaigns officer at Propertymark, says: “The Welsh government has taken a positive step by not placing the responsibility of referring tenants at risk of homelessness onto landlords and lettings agents. Propertymark has cautioned against the lack of clarity on responsibilities for lettings agents where landlords have discharged their duty onto an agent. This is because property agents might not have the day-to-day contact with tenants to assess their risk of homelessness.”