Kathryn Clare outlines some important information for private landlords and tenants in Wales of privately rented properties.
Key changes to the Renting Homes Act (Wales) 2016 and Renting Homes Act (Amendment) (Wales) 2021 are being implemented from 15 July 2022.
This applies to privately rented properties only and does not include information about social housing.
Firstly, from 15 January 2022, tenants will be called ‘contract holders’ and will have an ‘occupation contract’ rather than a tenancy agreement.
Landlord will have to issue tenants with a written statement of occupation including all key terms of the occupancy within 14 days of the commencement of the occupancy.
The Renting Homes (Model Written Statement of Contract) (Wales) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/28) does provide model written statements for landlords to utilise although this is not mandatory and a landlord can use their own written statement provided all key terms are documented.
It is important to be aware that all existing tenancy agreements will convert to ‘occupation contracts’ and landlords will have a maximum of 6 months from 15 July 2022 to issue the tenant/contract holder with a written statement of the converted occupation contract. This can be issued either electronically or by hard copy.
Ending occupation contracts after 15 July 2022
Key changes to be aware of:
- To serve a ‘no fault-based’ notice, also known as a section 21 notice, landlords must give tenants/contract holders 6 months’ notice as opposed to 4 months.
- A section 21 cannot be issued during the first 6 months of the commencement date. This has been increased from 4 months.
If a landlord intends to end the occupation contract due to a breach of the terms of the contract then the notice period is one month (shorter if it relates to anti-social behaviour or rent arrears).
We would urge you to seek advice before serving any notice on tenants/contract holders
Condition of rented properties must be fit for human habitation (FFHH)
To support the implementation of the act in July 2022, a number of regulations have also been implemented that landlords should be aware of including The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/6).
These regulations set out 29 matters and circumstances to take into account when determining whether a property is FFHH. It sets out requirements on a landlord to help ensure certain matters and circumstances do not arise and what they should do if they do arise.
For example, it covers smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and provisions to prevent mould.
Tenants should notify landlords as soon as reasonably practicable to inform them of any disrepair that is their responsibility.
The new legislation allows a welcome addition to enable landlords to repossess an abandoned property without obtaining a court order.
Provided a 4-week notice is served first and provided a landlord is satisfied that the property has been abandoned, they can take back possession without having to go to court and can change the locks.
Succession on death
The new legislation also provides improved succession rights for occupiers living with a tenant/contract holder upon their death.
- A spouse or civil partner of the contract-holder, or someone living with the contract-holder as a spouse or civil partner may be able to take over the tenancy after death of the contract holder and;
- Some family members may also be able to take over the tenancy provided that they have lived with the contract holder for 12 months prior to their death and are over the age of 18.
There are also further rights for carers.
Joint occupation contracts
The legislation now allows for a joint tenant/contract holder to leave a contract without the contract coming to an end entirely. Likewise, new tenants/contract holders can be joined to acontract already in place without the parties having to enter into a completely new contract.
The Renting Homes (Supplementary Provisions) (Wales) Regulations 2022
The regulations that accompany the legislation also incorporate a number of important provisions into occupation contracts that include:
- a tenant/contract holder’s obligation to remove personal belongings at the end of occupation
- a landlord’s right to enter in an emergency
- a tenant’s obligation to notify a landlord if repairs are required
For more information on the new regulations, please contact Kathryn Clare on 01244 305955 or [email protected]