Legislation has been passed in Wales that extends the amount of notice landlords must give to their tenants, from the two month s21 period, to six months.
The Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill means (because notice cannot be served within the initial term) that the minimum contract a tenant can be given in Wales will be 12 months.
The legislation makes permanent changes brought in during the pandemic which were designed to to prevent people becoming homeless.
The Welsh Government says that tenancy contracts are also to be “simplified and standardised”, and would give tenants “more protection, stability and security in their homes”. Landlords would still be able to repossess properties if a tenant breached their contract, it says.
However, Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA Propertymark ) has described the move as a “hammer blow” for Welsh landlords.
Angela Davey, ARLA Propertymark president, says:
“The Welsh Parliament’s approval of the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill will introduce significant changes to the way the private rented sector operates in Wales. Collectively, having one standardised legal framework is going to enable everyone to operate in exactly the same way, giving clarity on rights and responsibilities through standard written contracts.
“While in some cases these changes will provide more financial security for landlords, it also means it will take landlords 12 months to reclaim their property in the case of ‘no fault evictions’ which is a hammer blow to the sector. We call on the Welsh Government to now stick to its commitment for at least a six-month lead time, or longer, in light of Covid to allow agents and their landlords in Wales to prepare for the upcoming changes.”
Welsh housing and local government minister Julie James has said landlords will get “clearer” contracts that will “reduce disputes and legal costs. It will directly affect the lives of the one-in-three people who rent a home in Wales.”
David Wilton, chief executive of TPAS Cymru, formerly the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (Wales) has welcomed the change. He says:
“We particularly welcome the new protection measures which provide greater security regarding improved notice periods and offer flexibility should tenants’ circumstances change.”
Jennie Bibbings, Shelter Cymru’s housing campaign manager has said that her organisation has long campaigned against no-fault evictions, where landlords evict without a reason.
“Although the Welsh Government’s new legislation won’t end it entirely, it will improve the situation for tenants because they will know that, as long as they pay their rent and look after their home, they will have a minimum of one year knowing they can’t be evicted,” she says.
The National Residential Landlords Association’s Calum Davies has said that his organisation is “glad” the Welsh Government had not banned no-fault evictions. He has commented that the legislation could lead to “negative consequences”, including landlords leaving the market.
“The implication of this is it would decrease housing supply at a time when people are more dependent on private rented housing,” This legislation, he says, “encourages landlords to go to court to seek possession when they sadly have no confidence in such a slow justice system”.