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Caroline Knowles-Ley

Associate - Brighton & Hove

Changes to renting homes in Wales

In July 2022 the Welsh Government are introducing changes to the way properties will be rented. This will not affect properties in England. The Renting Homes Act 2016 is set to change how properties are rented, managed and lived in in Wales. It affects both the social and private rented sectors.

Main changes in the private rented Sector

An ‘occupation contract’ will replace tenancy and licence arrangements.  A ‘written statement’ of the occupation contract must be issued to all contract holders (formerly called tenants and licensees) to replace the current tenancy or licence agreement and this must contain all the terms of the contract.  Existing tenancy agreements will automatically ‘convert’ to the relevant occupation contract on the day of implementation and landlords will have a maximum of 6 months to issue a written statement of the converted occupation contract to the contract holder.

The current section 21 or ‘no fault’ notice can still be used but must give a minimum of 6 months’ notice and cannot be served in the first 6 months of the contract. The inability to serve this without complying with various requirements remains in place which, in Wales, includes obligations with regards to registration and licensing with Rent Smart Wales.

Under the new regime, a landlord break clause can only be incorporated into a fixed term contract of 2 years or more and a joint contract holder may leave or a new contract holder added without having to end the current contract and a new one begun.

Changes to renting homes, will England follow suit?

The recent drive has always been to give tenants more stability and this move certainly appears to achieve this by encouraging longer contracts. For the landlord, it will increase risks if a tenant does not pay the rent and is certainly more onerous if a landlord wants their property back at any point. Will England follow suit? It’s been talked about for a long time so the educated guess is yes, in time, England will indeed follow suit. It may be time for the smaller landlords in particular, for whom letting a property is not their main business, to consider the future and weigh up the risks of being a landlord.

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If you would like assistance or if you are seeking advice regarding this or any related legal matters, please contact Caroline Knowles-Ley on tel: 01273 766917 or email: carolineknowlesley@rixandkay.co.uk