New legislation has been introduced to give Welsh tenants more security and to help avoid disputes with landlords.
The Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill means that from Spring 2022, more simplified and standardised rental contracts will be available for a minimum of 12 months, with model contracts available.
Minimum notice periods will also be extended from two to six months in the case of no-fault evictions, with landlords only able to serve notice six months after tenants have moved in.
Although the notice period is going to be longer, Welsh landlords will still be able to repossess their property if a tenant is in breach of contract.
Housing and local government minister Julie James (pictured) says the law will directly affect the one in three people who currently rent in the region, making it fair, simple and efficient.
Says James: “Thanks to our efforts, tenants will have greater peace of mind when renting. Everyone has the right to feel secure in their own home and to be able to plan for the future.”
She adds that there will also be clear benefits for landlords. “Clearer and easier to understand contracts will reduce disputes and legal costs and the new regime will provide a better way for landlords to deal with abandoned properties.”
David Wilton, chief executive of tenant advisory service TPAS Cymru, agrees that the new contracts should make it clearer for tenants and landlords to understand their respective rights and responsibilities.
He adds: “We particularly welcome the new protection measures which provide greater security regarding improved notice periods and offer flexibility should tenants’ circumstances change.”
Angela Davey, President, ARLA Propertymark, says: “The Welsh Parliament’s approval of the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill will introduce significant changes to the way the private rented sector operates in Wales.
“Collectively, having one standardised legal framework is going to enable everyone to operate in exactly the same way, giving clarity on rights and responsibilities through standard written contracts.
“While in some cases these changes will provide more financial security for landlords, it also means it will take landlords 12 months to reclaim their property in the case of “no fault evictions”, which is a hammer blow to the sector.
“We call on the Welsh Government to now stick to its commitment for at least a six-month lead time, or longer, in light of COVID to allow agents and their landlords in Wales to prepare for the upcoming changes.”