The way Landlords and Tenants rent in Wales will soon undergo significant changes.
On 1 December 2022 the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will change the way all landlords in Wales rent their properties, this Act is the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades. The new law simplifies agreements and will offer greater security and certainty to tenants (contract-holders) and landlords. You can read guidance and the legislation provided by Welsh Government here.
Key Terms to be aware of:
The changes in law will affect landlords and tenants in both the private and social rented sector. These changes will also apply to management companies or agents that manage properties on behalf of a landlord. Going forwards there will be some changes to the terms you may be used to, some important ones are:
- Tenancy Agreement > Occupation Contracts
- Tenants and Licensees > Contract Holders
- Contracts will fall into two types > ‘Secure’ for the Social Rented Sector and ‘Standard’ for the Private Rented Sector
Within occupation contracts there will be four types of terms that should and can feature within them:
- Key matters: The names of the parties and address of the property. These mustbe inserted in every contract.
- Fundamental Terms:Cover the most important aspects of the contract, including the possession procedures and the landlord’s obligations regarding repair.
- Supplementary Terms:Deal with the more practical, day to day matters applying to the occupation contract, for example, the requirement for a contract-holder to notify the landlord if the property is going to be empty for four weeks or more.
- Additional Terms:Addresses any other specifically agreed matters, for example a term which relates to the keeping of pets. Any additional terms must be fair, as required by the Consumer Rights Act 2015
Key changes you should be aware of:
- Tenancy Agreementswill be replaced by Occupation Contracts and must be provided in writing. Existing tenancy agreements will convert to an occupation contract on the day of the implementation (1 December 2022). There will be a maximum of 6 months to issue a written statement of the converted occupation contract to your contract-holders.
- Increased Security, eviction notice periods will increase from two months to six months as long as the contract isn’t breached. For landlords, the changes in law also mean that it will be easier to repossess abandoned properties, without needing a court order.
- Property Safety Standards, all landlords should ensure homes are fit for human habitation this includes working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and electrical safety testing.
If you have not yet taken steps to convert your existing tenancy agreement into a written statement, follow these steps and guidance from Welsh Government:
- Download the relevant model written statements here
- Review the model written statements against your current agreements using the conversion guidance which can be found here
- On the basis of your review, create appropriate written statements to replace your current agreements
- Issue the written statements to your contract-holders
The above guidance is a reminder and summary of the key changes soon to be implemented, to make sure you are fully prepared for the changes, visit the Welsh Governments guidance here