Renting Homes Wales Act Updates  

Update – 31st May 2022

Following an announcement from Julie James MP, we can confirm that the implementation of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act has been deferred until 1st December 2022. Please follow the link below to view the full statement.

https://gov.wales/written-statement-implementation-renting-homes-wales-act-2016-deferral-implementation-date

Overview

As you may have seen in the press there is major change in the rental sector coming up this year in Wales.

We thought it would be useful to give you an overview of the Renting Homes Wales Act 2016 and amendments, and the main changes that are being implemented on the 15th July 2022.

There are two types of landlord under the Act:

  • community landlords (primarily local authorities and registered social landlords); and
  • private landlords (all other landlords).

Tenants and licensees will be called ‘contract-holders.’ Contract-holders will have an ‘occupation contract’ (which replaces tenancy agreements and licence arrangements).

The type of occupation contract that most private Landlords will have will be called a Standard Occupation Contract: this is the default contract for the private rented sector (PRS).

Jargon Buster 

There will be changes to lots of terminology within the sector, for example:

  • The Property will become known as the Dwelling
  • A Tenant will become known as a Contract Holder (or Occupier)
  • A Tenancy Agreement will become known as an Occupation Contract
family

What happens to Tenancy Agreements from 15th July? 

The most common type of tenancy currently used in the PRS is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) Agreement. From 15th July 2022, these agreements will be replaced by a Standard Occupation Contract (SOC), which includes a written statement of the key facts of the tenancy. It will now become a legal requirement for all landlords to provide a written SOC within 14 days of the tenancy commencement. This can be issued in hard copy, or if the contract-holder agrees, electronically.

Existing tenancy agreements will ‘convert’ to the relevant occupation contracts and landlords have a maximum of six months to issue a written statement of the converted occupation contract to their contract-holders.

Other major changes for Landlords and Tenants

  • Where a ‘no fault’ notice is issued by a landlord, the minimum notice period that must be given is 6 months.
  • A landlord will not be able to give such a notice until 6 months after the initial contract starts meaning the minimum term (from a landlord’s perspective) will be 12 months going forward. A contract-holder (tenant) may still provide one month’s notice to vacate once the initial fixed term has ended.
  • 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.
  • Landlord break clauses will only be able to be incorporated into a fixed term occupation contract if the contract has a fixed term of 2 years or more. A landlord will not be able to exercise a break clause within the first 18 months of occupation.
  • A landlord must ensure properties are fit for human habitation (FFHH). This will include, for instance, electrical safety testing and ensuring working hard wired smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted.  In addition, rent will not be payable for any period during which the dwelling is not fit for human habitation. (See further details below in FFHH section).
  • If a landlord issued a ‘no fault’ possession notice 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.
  • A joint contract-holder will be able to leave a contract without ending the contract entirely.
  • New joint contract-holders can be added without having to end the current contract and start another one.
  • The legislation enables both a ‘priority’ and ‘reserve’ successor to succeed to the occupation contract. This allows 2 successions to the contract to take place, for example a spouse followed by another family member. In addition, a new succession right for carers is created.
  • A landlord is able to repossess an abandoned property without needing a court order, after serving a four week warning notice and carrying out investigations to evidence that the property is abandoned.

Fitness for Human Habitation Act  

Landlords must ensure that their property is in line with the Fitness for Human Habitation Act, which will involve:

  • From the 15th July 2022 all properties will need a Carbon Monoxide alarm in each room with a solid, oil or gas fired combustion appliance.
  • Mains wired and interlinked smoke alarms must be fitted in new lettings after the 15th July 2022 and by 15th July 2023 for existing tenancies (there may be the odd circumstance that needs one earlier).
  • A satisfactory electrical condition report (ECR) is required on all new occupation contracts after the 15th July 2022. For existing tenancies, a satisfactory report needs to be in place by the 15th July 2023 (there may be the odd circumstance that needs one earlier).
tenant

How can Belvoir Help? 

We are acutely aware that this is a huge adjustment for everyone. Our team have attended training with Training for Professionals and are working with them on an ongoing basis, so that we can successfully navigate our clients through these changing times, looking after our landlords and their properties is our top priority!

We have access to up to the minute developments from specialist advisors and we will be updating this page regularly as well as sending out regular updates to our existing landlords via our mailer service.

We will also be hosting a FREE webinar with Training for Professionals. This will be available to all Landlord Clients, details on how to enrol onto this webinar will be issued in due course.

Need more Advice? Get in touch… 

If you are already a Belvoir client but on a Tenant Find Only basis, or are not yet a client of ours, but you are looking for additional help with the upcoming changes, then please contact our Lettings Manager Anthony Roige (Anthony.roige@belvoir.co.uk) who would be happy to discuss your requirements and how we can help you.

If you are an existing Managed Client, then please rest assured as we are working on converting existing managed tenancies into the new contracts as well as ensuring that all Managed properties meet the FFHH requirements. We will be in touch directly to provide more information on this. Of course, if you are looking for more guidance and / or advice then please contact our Lettings Manager Nicole Clement (Nicole.clement@belvoir.co.uk) who would be happy to help you.

We are making every effort to make the forthcoming transition as smooth as possible for all clients, old and new.

Kind Regards,

The Lettings Team @ Belvoir Swansea, Sketty & Mumbles

Contact the Swansea, Sketty & Mumbles Team

  • By clicking submit you agree to the storage and use of your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.