Huge changes to Welsh renting laws go live today for landlords, tenants and agents

Once-in-a-lifetime changes to the way landlords in Wales handle both properties and tenancies as set out I nthe Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 have gone live this morning.

The contentious legislation, which has been fiercely debated this year, so much so landlords were given more time to prepare, introduces a ‘single and clear’ legal framework, providing contract-holders (or tenants) in Wales with greater security than in any other part of the UK, it is claimed.

The new law has not been without its criticis including the NRLA, whose members will now have to wait a year to evict a tenant as ‘no-fault’ notice periods increase from two months to six months for new tenants now, and for existing tenants on Thursday, June 1.

It will no longer be possible to issue a notice in the first six months, meaning all contract-holders will have a minimum 12 months of security at the start of their tenancy.

Other key changes include:

  • All landlords now required to provide a written copy of the occupation contract to the tenant setting out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
  • 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 evictions’ (whereby a landlord or agent serves notice on a tenant 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.

Momentous moment

“This is a momentous moment as we completely transform the rented sector in Wales,” says Climate Change Minister Julie James (main image).

“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.”

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