What the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 means for existing eviction notices and some ‘new’ ways to end occupation contracts

28 November 2022

In our latest article, we looked at what the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 means for existing assured shorthold tenancies.

As a recap, all assured shorthold tenancies entered before 1 December 2022 will automatically convert to occupation contracts when the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 comes into effect.

Some may wonder what this will mean for existing eviction notices and how they will be able to terminate an occupation contract in future.

With just under a week until the changes, here is what to expect.

How will the changes affect existing section 21 notices?

Currently, landlords can serve ‘no fault’ notices on tenants called Section 21 notices, which give them a minimum of two months to reclaim possession of a property without explanation or evidence of fault.

Section 21 notices served before the start of the new Act will only remain valid for a short time after 1 December 2022.  If you wish to file a possession claim with the court, you must do so by 31 January 2023 or within two months of the expiration of the notice (whichever is later).

Therefore, it is advisable to start possession proceedings immediately after 1 December 2022 so that any existing notices can be used. When regaining possession, the court procedure will be the same, including accelerated or standard proceedings.

A new ‘no fault’ notice

Under the new law, landlords will still be able to serve a ‘no fault’ notice, but they will be called Section 173 notices and will replace Section 21 notices.

Section 173 notices will prevent landlords from being able to serve a possession notice within the first six months of a ‘new’ occupation contract. Landlords will also have to provide a minimum of six months’ notice to evict contract holders. Therefore, contract holders could be protected against eviction for at least one year before landlords could regain possession on a ‘no fault’ basis.

However, to ensure a smooth transition, landlords will still be able to serve two months’ notice for converted occupation contracts until 1 June 2023. This will apply to both converted periodic standard contracts and converted fixed term standard contracts, but for the latter, you can only give two months’ notice within the term of the contract. This is because once the term ends, it will be replaced with a ‘new’ occupation contract and therefore be subject to the new rules.

Ending an occupation contract for breach of contract

Currently, landlords can serve section 8 notices on tenants for breach of contract.

Section 8 notices served before the start of the new Act will remain valid after 1 December 2022, but only 12 months after you have served the notice or 6 months after the commencement of the act (whichever comes first).

Therefore, it is advisable to start possession proceedings before 31 May 2023 so that the existing notice can be used.

Under the new Act, possession will continue to be available for breaches of contract and landlords will be able to give contract holders a minimum of one months’ notice or shorter for serious rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

What this means and how we can help

While eviction notices will serve the same purpose, their notice periods will change. If you have served section 21 and 8 notices before 1 December 2022, our team can assist you with the transition and with the drafting of new notices under the new law.

Please do not hesitate to contact the team if you require further information on the above.

In our next article, we will examine some more key developments under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

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.