Renting in Wales:
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, when fully implemented, will mean substantial changes for Welsh landlords. This will include using a “standard Contract” made up of fundamental, supplementary and additional terms, including provisions on retaliatory eviction, abandonment, and most notably new requirements on “fit for human habitation”.
This major overhaul will require Welsh landlords to spend time and money understanding the new system of contracts, on top of the tax changes facing landlords in the rest of the UK, and as well as meeting all the other new regulatory requirements.
This torrent of new legislation hitting landlords in Wales, especially after the introduction of Rent Smart Wales, the controvertible landlord registration scheme. It is feared by some that it could be enough to see landlord investment in Wales dry up completely, and for the first time in years, see the rental sector start to shrink.
So a new NLA report, which focuses on ways to bring about positive change in the Welsh PRS, is to be welcomed by landlords. Entitled: “Improving the Private Rented Sector in Wales; making it happen for landlords and tenants”, the report makes 7 key recommendations.
The Welsh Housing Minister, Rebecca Evans has welcomed the report produced by the National Landlords’ Association (NLA) on Private Rented Sector (PRS) housing in Wales which calls on the government to provide more support for landlords.
On his launching of the report in the Welsh Assembly, NLA Chairman Adrian Jeakings, welcomed the support the NLA has been given by partners Citizens Advice Cymru and the housing minister Rebecca Evans in making the publication possible.
Based on evidence gathered at round-table events with the main stakeholders and members of the National Assembly of Wales held last year, the report makes seven key policy recommendations:
- Ask the UK Government, during the negotiation of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, to consider which powers can be devolved to Wales to ensure it has effective control over housing policy.
- Call on the UK Government to allow Universal Credit payments to be paid directly to the landlord, as they can be in Scotland, if this is the choice of the tenant.
- Take, alongside enforcing bodies, a more robust approach when enforcing legislation to root out non-compliant landlords.
- Set up a ministerial advisory group to ensure there is a meaningful and continual dialogue with sector stakeholders on policy developments affecting the PRS.
- Commit to undertaking an annual survey on the condition of housing in Wales.
- Explore ways to support landlords in meeting and surpassing energy efficiency obligations.
- Use Rent Smart Wales as a vehicle to produce and disseminate comprehensive and digestible information on the rights and responsibilities of tenants to help increase their confidence in disputes with landlords.
Download the report here