Housing law in Wales is changing
From 1 December 2022, the law on renting properties in Wales is changing.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is intended to simplify how you rent properties and the changes will impact both tenants and landlords.
Under the new Act, there are two types of landlord: community landlords (primarily local authorities and registered social landlords); and private landlords (all other landlords). Tenants and licensees will be called ‘contract-holders’ and they will have an ‘occupation contract’ rather than a tenancy agreement or and licence to occupy.
There will be two types of occupation contract:
- a secure contract, for use by community landlords; and
- a standard contract, which is the default contract for the private rentals, but which may be used by local authorities in certain circumstances (for example, in some supported accommodation).
Landlords will be required to issue a ‘written statement’ of the occupation contract to all contract-holders, and this will replace their current tenancy or licence agreement. The written statement must contain all the terms of the contract.
For new rentals, entered into on or after 1 December 2022, the written statement must be issued within 14 days of occupation under the contract.
Existing tenancy agreements will ‘convert’ to an occupation contract on 1 December 2022 and landlords will have a maximum of six months to issue a written statement to their contract-holders for the converted occupation contract.
The written statement can be issued in hard copy or, where the contract-holder agrees, electronically.
Landlords must also ensure than their rental properties are fit for human habitation (FFHH). This will include, for example, ensuring that electrical safety testing is carried out, and ensuring that working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in the property.
Where a property is deemed ‘not fit for human habitation’, rent will not be payable by the tenant for that property until it is made fit for human habitation by the landlord.
Landlords must also keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair and keep installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity; for sanitation; for space heating; and for hot water, in repair and proper working order.
Where a contract-holder makes a request for repair and the landlord issues a ‘no fault’ possession notice in response (sometimes referred to as a “retaliatory eviction”), the Court may refuse to allow the landlord to take possession of the property and may prevent the landlord from issuing a further ‘no fault’ notice for another six months.
Some good news for landlords though, under the new Act, as landlords will be able to repossess an abandoned property without needing a court order, provided they have served a four-week warning notice and carried out investigations to satisfy themselves that the property is abandoned.
Further information can be found on the Welsh Government’s website: https://gov.wales/renting-homes-housing-law-changing
If you have any questions about this change in law, or wish to discuss a new or existing tenancy agreement or occupation contract, speak to a member of our specialist Residential Conveyancing team on 01244 310 022 or at email@example.com