The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016
Author: Joshua Prior
When The Renting Homes (Wales) Act (“the Act”) was passed in 2016, it was intended to provide both landlords and tenants with more information regarding their rights and responsibilities, as well as simplifying the entire renting process. Tenancy agreements would become contracts and tenants would become ‘contract holders’. Quite simply, it marked an intended complete overhaul of the Welsh residential renting system.
With the Westminster Government announcing the end of Section 21 evictions (so called, ‘no-fault’ evictions) there has been a heightened speculation concerning whether Wales will follow suit.
When the Act was passed by the then Welsh Assembly in 2016, it promised to extend the two-month warning period for Section 1 evictions to sixth months. Campaigners for renters’ rights welcomed the change as it was seen to provide to provide more protection for tenants. For landlords, however, the move was a shock that gave a landowner less control over their own property.
The implementation of the Act was scheduled for Spring 2022 – specifically July 15. Due to the magnitude of changes to be implemented, landlords were understandably anxious to accommodate the changes in a clear and consistent way. It was subsequently announced by Julia James MS, Welsh Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for housing, that the implementation date would be extended to 1st December 2022.
This was warmly welcomed by the housing association community, with Community Housing Cymru calling the move “sensible and pragmatic.”
The delayed date will mean that all landlords will have more time to implement comprehensive procedures to comply with the new system. The new date will also benefit tenants as they can expect better communication around the changes and their increased rights.
When the new law is enforced, it is important to note that only those occupation contracts (which were previously known as tenancy agreements) that begin after 1st December 2022 will be subject to the extended six month notice period for Section 21 evictions.
Wales is falling behind slightly in this matter, with Scotland already having abolished Section 21 evictions and England promising to do so within the next Parliamentary term.