In February 2020, the Welsh Government announced changes to the laws on renting a property in Wales, currently known as the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales).
The new Bill – known as the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (RH(W)A) – received Royal Assent back in January 2016, and is intended to give greater security to those in private, rented residential properties in Wales, in particular to people who occupy under standard occupation contracts.
Although the new Bill has not yet been enforced, when the time comes, it will represent a huge change in culture for landlords and tenants renting properties in Wales. It is worth noting the new changes in place and being aware of the new requirements. The Act is intended to imply certain conditions for new tenancies, but the existing Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) will still remain valid.
What Are the New Requirements for the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016?
- Landlords must provide a written statement to their tenants called an ‘occupation contract’ within 14 days of occupying the property; this sets out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and contract-holders.
- Tenants will be guaranteed a minimum of 12 months protection from the start of their tenancy, providing they have not breached the terms of their contract.
- Landlords need to adhere to a higher level of adequacy in relation to the property being fit for human habitation, at the time of occupation and throughout.
- Notably, an individual cannot be a contract-holder under an occupation contract until they reach the age of 18. Therefore, any agreement made with somebody under the age of 18 will not be an occupation contract.
There are proposals to extend the minimum notice period from two months to six months for issuing a notice for repossession.
Both Occupiers and Private / Community Landlords in Wales will see the new Act as a huge change in the law for renting a property in Wales. Both Landlords and Tenants should seek specialist advice, particularly when granting or receiving a new occupation contract or terminating an existing tenancy.
If the act is passed by the Senedd, the new law will come into force in the Spring of 2021.