The way you rent in Wales has changed – for both Landlords and Contract Holders (previously known as Tenants).
Changes to the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 were introduced on December 1, 2022 which saw various pieces of legislation replaced in the aim of simplifying the process of renting in Wales.
The changes mean things like longer notice periods and ensuring rental properties are a safe place to live for the contract holders.
According to the Welsh Government, the Renting Homes Act is the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades.
Some of the main changes introduced from December 1, 2022 include:
All Landlords being required to provide a written copy of the occupation contract to the Contract Holder(s) (this sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties).
‘No-fault’ notice periods increasing from two months to six months for new Contract Holder(s), and for existing tenants from Thursday, June 1. It will no longer be possible to issue a notice in the first six months, meaning all Contract-Holder(s) will have a minimum 12 months of security at the start of their tenancy.
A strengthened duty on Landlords, to ensure the property they rent is fit for human habitation including the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and regular electrical safety testing.
Addressing the practice of ‘retaliatory eviction’ (whereby a landlord serves notice on a Contract Holder(s) because they ask for repairs or complain about poor conditions).
The introduction of a consistent approach across sectors to eviction where antisocial behaviour and domestic violence, occurs.
Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “This is a momentous moment as we completely transform the rented sector in Wales.
“A decent, safe and secure home is fundamental to people’s wellbeing. These changes will provide tenants with greater protection from eviction and ensure their home is safe to live in.
“At the same time, Landlords will benefit from greater clarity in the law and the ability to repossess abandoned properties more quickly.
“As we build a stronger, greener and more prosperous Wales, I would like to thank all those who have joined us on this journey to making renting simpler and fairer.”
MORE IN DEPTH LOOK AT THE CHANGES
RENTING HOMES (WALES) ACT 2016 – RESIDENTIAL LETTING REQUIREMENTS WALES
- The Contract Holder(s) (previously referred to as Tenant(s)) must be provided with Occupation Contracts from December 1, 2022 and not an AST;
- Carbon monoxide alarms must comply to new requirements by December 1, 2022. A CO alarm must be fitted in every room where there is a fuel burning or gas appliance to all privately let residential properties.
- Landlord(s) of a Converted AST to Occupational Contract prior to December 1, 2022 will have to ensure that smoke alarms comply to new requirements by December 1, 2023. Smoke alarms must me permanently wired & interlinked. Battery operated alarms are not allowed;
- Landlord(s) of Converted AST to Occupational Contract prior to December 1, 2022 will have to have a satisfactory five-year EICR Certificate by December 1, 2023;
- Properties built before 2000 must have an Asbestos Management Survey and if any asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) are found then an Asbestos Risk Assessment will be required;
- Asbestos Management Surveys/Risk Assessments must be issued to Contract Holder(s) (previously referred to as Tenant(s)) and any Contractors engaged by the Landlord or Management Agent in a work capacity;
- A Legionella Risk Assessment must be held on file and a copy issued to the Contract Holder(s) (previously referred to as Tenant(s));
- Inventories must be provided to the Contract Holder(s) (previously referred to as Tenant(s)) within 14 days of occupation of the property. Inventories can only be left out if the Contract Holder(s) agrees in the supplementary terms. This applies to new Occupation Contracts only.
- For new Occupational Contracts from December 1, 2022 a five-year Electrical Checks (EICR) must be carried out before the Contract Holder(s) (previously referred to as Tenant(s)) can occupy the property and a certificate must be provided to the Contract Holder(s) (previously referred to as Tenant(s));
- RHW2 Prescribed Notice will be required to be sent to all new Contract Holder(s) (previously referred to as Tenant(s)) after December 1, 2022 within 14 days of Check-In advising of Landlord Details;
- It is most important to stress is that under the Act there are now significant penalties for not complying whereas previously there weren’t.
For Landlords this will mean:
Ensuring homes are fit for human habitation (FFHH). This will include, electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted.
Abandoned properties can be repossesed without needing a court order.
For further guidance click here. https://www.gov.wales/landlords-housing-law-has-changed-renting-homes
Under the new law, Tenants and Licensees are now known as ‘Contract-Holders’.
Receiving a written contract setting out your rights and responsibilities
An increase in the ‘no fault’ notice period from two to six months and greater protection from eviction
Improved succession rights – who has a right to continue to live in a dwelling
More flexible arrangements for joint Contract-Holders, making it easier to add or remove others to a contract.
For further guidance click here. https://www.gov.wales/tenants-housing-law-has-changed-renting-homes