On the 15th July The way you rent is changing… for tenants & landlords

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will be implemented in Wales on 15th July 2022. The announcement was made in January 2022, providing 6 months to prepare for the changes.

The full details are available on the gov.wales website however, in this article, we aim to outline some of the key components of the new legislation for Private Landlords.

Further posts will analyse some of the finer points of the changes and what tenants can expect.

Tenancy Agreements

Tenants will now be called ‘contract-holders’.
Tenancy agreements will be replaced with ‘occupation contracts’
Private Landlords will use a ‘standard’ occupation contract
Social Landlords will use a ‘secure’ occupation contract

Occupation Contracts

Occupation contracts will have 4 sections (called terms). The first 3 sections will outline the details of the tenancy, such as property, tenant, term and will also detail the standard conditions (terms) to be found in every occupational contract.

The 4th section will contain the ‘additional terms’ and deal with any other specifically agreed matters, for example, smoking inside a property. Any additional terms must be fair, as required by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

For new rentals after the 15th July, the contract must be issued within 14 days of occupation.

Existing tenancy agreements will ‘convert’ to the relevant occupation contract on the day of implementation, and landlords have a maximum of six months to issue a written occupation contract to their contract-holders.

Occupation Contracts – some key points

For contract holders (tenants) who have not breached the contract
The Contract holders (tenants) will have a minimum security of tenure of one year. The reason for this is that Landlord’s cannot issue a ‘no fault’ notice to end the ‘tenancy’ (previously known as a section 21) within the first 6 months of the contract starting and, for ‘no fault’ notices, the minimum notice period is 6 months.

A landlord will not be able to give such a notice unless they have complied with certain obligations, including registration and licensing with Rent Smart Wales and deposit protection rules.

Repairs and conditions of rented properties

The new legislation strongly interlinks with rental properties being fit for human habitation (FFHH).

  • Rent will not be payable for any period during which the dwelling is not fit for human habitation.
  • If a landlord issued a ‘no fault’ possession notice (previously known as a section 21) in response to a request for repair (commonly known as retaliatory eviction), the court can refuse to make a possession order and it will not be possible to issue a further ‘no fault’ notice until 6 months later.

Fit For Human Habitation
The following is an overview of some of the key FFHH regulations

You must keep the structure and exterior of the property in repair and keep installations for the supply of water, gas or electricity, for sanitation, for space heating, and hot water in repair and proper working order.

Smoke Alarms

  • A smoke alarm, in proper working order, must be present on every storey of a dwelling
  • Landlords must ensure every smoke alarm is in proper working order, connected to the electrical supply and inter-linked with all other smoke alarms fitted.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

  • A carbon monoxide alarm must be present in any room which has a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance installed.

Electrical Installation – periodic inspection and testing’ (PIT).

  • Landlords are required to have the electrical installation of the property tested every five years (minimum) and an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) issued. The EICR must be provided to the tenant within 7 days of move in.

OR

  • If the previous EICR indicate a shorter testing interval is required, the five year period will not apply, and a future test must be undertaken at the recommended interval.

An EICR report will document any deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and any non-compliance with the present-day safety standard. The non-compliances must be corrected.

Failure to test an electrical installation within the recommended interval will mean the dwelling is considered unfit for human habitation.

If you need professional advice on the new lettings regulations contact us. Belvoir Cardiff and Pontypridd. Tel. 02920 623860 email cardiff@belvoir.co.uk