Landlords in Wales need to update their occupation contract templates after the Welsh government amended part of the document.
New wording makes it clear that landlords can issue an occupation contract before occupation, which wasn’t evident in the original document, according to the NRLA.
Some people had argued that the written statement of the contract could not be given validly or become binding on a tenant before they had moved into the property. This amendment clarifies that it is not the case and landlords can safely issue their contracts prior to the start date.
NRLA head of policy, James Wood (pictured), says it had taken the view that this was always the case, but that it was welcome to see clarification.
Occupation contracts were brought in under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act – replacing tenancy agreements – and must include certain mandatory information or terms. If they aren’t included, a landlord can potentially be liable for penalties.
For landlords with ongoing tenancies, nothing needs to be done until a new contract is agreed, explains Wood.
“Only the explanatory information has been updated, not any of the fundamental or supplementary terms. As a result, you are not required to issue a statement of variation to your contract holders for this change.”
He adds that while it mostly covers England, when the Renters (Reform) Bill becomes law it will add new fundamental terms to occupation contracts in Wales, around discrimination against families and tenants in receipt of benefits. “When this does become law, all landlords in Wales will need to issue a statement of variation and update their contracts.”