New rental law set to come into force

Julie James
Julie James

The new Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Act is expected to come into force in July and introduces new laws around notice periods for rented accommodation in Wales, it was announced yesterday.

While previously the minimum notice period to vacate a property was two months, when the new law comes into place landlords will be legally required to give tenants six months’ notice if they are required to vacate a property.

Landlords will no longer be able to give notice until renters have been in the property for a minimum of six months.

Ultimately the new law means renters will have a minimum 12-month contract in a property in Wales instead of the previous minimum six-month contract.

Occupiers will be permitted to end a contract by giving at least four weeks’ written notice.

You can read the written statement Julie James, minister for climate change on the implementation of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, by clicking here.

In response to the news, Chris Norris, director of Policy & Campaigns at the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “With the Welsh government now moving forward with its plans to implement the Renting Homes Wales Act, there is still a pressing need for more clarity as to what the supporting framework of the Act looks like.

“The extent of landlords’ future obligations under this legislation also underlines how crucial it is that existing legislation be made fit for purpose before new regulations are introduced.

“While we welcome the introduction of the Act, it is vital that the supporting legislation is fit for purpose and scrutinised sufficiently. In particular, the occupation contract terms, which all landlords must use, needs to improve significantly from its original consultation draft.

Daryl McIntosh,
Daryl McIntosh,

“These important steps must be taken before more complex regulations are introduced by the Welsh Government over the course of this year.”

Daryl McIntosh, policy manager at Propertymark, commented: “Communication and education will be key to the success of the new tenancy regime that the Renting Homes (Wales) Act brings.

“The changes could be problematic if agents are not well versed, and we would suggest that agents prepare well in advance of July which is something we will be supporting our members through.

“It remains to be seen how the changes to notice periods will affect the choices of both landlords and tenants as their access to flexibility is restricted.”

 

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8 Comments

  1. undercover agent

    I feel sorry for the tenants.

    This new rule will surely make some potential landlords decide not to become landlords and might even cause some existing landlords to leave the market. The effect will be less choice for tenants in Wales. That invariably means lower quality accommodation and higher rents.

    No doubt they will try to fix this mistake with a combination of Rent Controls, benefits and strict Enforcement of accommodation standards, which will naturally only make the problems worse.

    Don’t these rule-makers read history, don’t they know you don’t fix a problem by doing more of what made the problem in the first place?

    I don’t know who let the Welsh tenants down by failing to educate the rule-makers, but something has gone wrong somewhere.

    I just feel so sorry for the next generation of tenants in Wales.

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    1. AcornsRNuts

      “might even cause some existing landlords to leave the market” – only might cause? Landlords should see the way the wind is blowing when Labour are in control and cut their losses. they really do not need the aggravation.

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  2. HJBaker

    I entirely agree with the above. But as damage limitation, why can the tenants give just one month’s notice? Why not make it two – at least this enables the landlord time to re-let the property. It is very unbalanced, with six months on one side and just one month on the other.

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    1. AcornsRNuts

      Tenants in Wales only have to give four weeks notice, not even a calendar month.

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  3. A W

    What an idiotic introduction by the Welsh Assembly.

    This will see a decline of private landlords (we shall see how much in the next few years). The notice periods are entirely unfair and this is pure vote grabbing at it lowest. Julie James has absolutely no concept of how PRS works and will be responsible for exacerbating the housing crisis in Wales.

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  4. northernlandlord

     Let’s hope that the rest of the UK doesn’t rush into this as well. Let Wales be an experiment with time allowed for all the unforeseen, unintended consequences to emerge. This is potentially another nail in the PRS coffin. Governments and Councils can’t house those who can’t afford to buy their own property and lean heavily on the PRS to bail them out. The reward? Vilification of landlords used to justify ever increasing regulation. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!
    Who would want to be a PRS landlord if eventually tenants will be living in licensed, rent controlled housing that must comply with Eco and safety standards far beyond those of the average owner occupied house with £30,000 fines lurking for anybody that doesn’t comply?
    Want to escape by selling up? You will need to give a year’s notice and if Generation Rent get their way you will have to pay the tenants moving expenses and probably compensate them for all the stress you have caused. What next? Will right to buy be extended to the PRS with landlords forced to sell at a substantial discount to their tenants with no recompense? Who knows?

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    1. HJBaker

      Proposed rental reforms in Scotland have already led to a decline in the PRS and problems with lack of rental properties. This has not stopped Wales from following suit. The housing sector doesn’t know its arxe from its elbow so I don’t expect any joined up thinking in regard to future plans/reforms for England.

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  5. Woodentop

    Its a minimum 13 months period if you look carefully for new tenancies.

     

    Now we wait to see how lenders react and what additional security they may require if they stay in the market. Writing on the wall … BTL will end as we know it or disappear without securities.

     

    This will end Social Housing in PRS and put the market into decline.

     

    …. time will tell.

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