Significant Upcoming Legislative Changes to Rental Properties in Wales

1 June 2021

The Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Act 2021 (“the Act”) will come into force in the first half of 2022.  With it will come some significant changes to the way in which landlords rent out their properties. It is important to note at the outset that this legislation relates only to properties in Wales and not in England.

Why the change?

The purpose of the Act is to radically simplify the law relating to renting houses in Wales, which is notoriously complex.

Increasingly, there are more and more people renting in the private sector.  Around 30% of homes in Wales are rented in some form, and the number of renters in the Country is expected to significantly rise over the years to come. The law is changing, not only because of the number of people renting, but also because of the type of people renting.  Traditionally, single people dominated the rented private sector.  Today, people from all walks of life, including families, live in rental accommodation in Wales.

The overarching aim of the Act is to improve security of tenure for renters in Wales and reduce the risk of homelessness whilst at the same time balance the Landlord’s rights, particularly when regaining possession of their property in a timely and straightforward manner where necessary.

What are the changes?

This new legislation coming into force aims to amalgamate various pieces of existing housing legislation to simplify the renting process.  ‘Occupation Contracts’ will retrospectively replace existing types of tenancies (such as secure tenancies or assured shorthold tenancies).  There will instead be two types of contracts:

  1. ‘Secure contracts’ will apply to homes rented from community landlords such as charities, housing associations etc.; and
  2. ‘Standard contracts’ will apply to private landlords and are modelled on assured shorthold tenancies.

A written contract specifying the rights of the renter and the responsibilities of the landlord must be provided.  The contracts will also afford greater protection to renters and the legislation will particularly impact the way in which a contract is brought to an end.  Should the Landlord wish to seek possession of their property, they will need to give at least six months’ notice to the renter.  Notice cannot be given inside the first six months of the contract. Renters will therefore have at least one year under their contract before a Landlord is able to regain possession of their property.

The Act also recognises that there is a need to protect Landlords against any rogue tenants.  The Act enables Landlords to seek repossession of their property during the fixed term but only in the event that a tenant is in breach of their contract.

The practicalities of the Act will become more apparent over the months to come. The Act will have a significant impact on Landlords and renters alike.  Redkite Solicitors will be keeping you up to date as and when further information becomes available.

If you are a landlord in need of assistance regarding an issue with your tenant or their tenancy you can speak to our Dispute Resolution Team today. Find their contact details by clicking here.

This article was written for Redkite by Dispute Resolution Trainee Solicitor Jake Oliver. To find out more about Jake visit his website profile by clicking here.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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