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Lawyer up for the updated act that could affect you!

28 February 2023

On 1 December 2022, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 came into force. This brought about sweeping changes to housing law in Wales, such that there is now a large difference to the laws relating to housing across the border in England.

All social and private landlords of properties in Wales will need to understand the new amendments and ensure they comply with the obligations placed upon them moving forward.

Occupation contracts

Out with the old tenancy agreements and in with the new occupation contracts!

Under the new legislation, tenants and licensees will now be called ‘contract-holders’ and tenancy agreements will instead be called ‘occupation contracts’.

What does this mean?

  • Tenants must now receive a written contract
  • The no-fault eviction notice period has been extended from two to six months (effective 1 June 2023)
  • There will be more flexible arrangements for joint contract-holders, meaning it will be easier to add or remove others to an occupation contract.

Additionally, all existing tenancies will convert to occupation contracts and written statements must be issued for them no later than 1 June 2023.

The legislation has been introduced to help improve security of tenure for tenants by, for example, making the no fault notice period three times as long.

This change was made despite there being approximately 1,400 filed responses to the consultation with around 90% of the responses being filed by private landlords and letting agents, where the vast majority disagreed with the extension of the notice period.

1 June 2023 date to avoid

If you wish to evict your tenant where the tenant has not necessarily done anything wrong – but you require the property back in any event – we encourage you to take action as soon as practicable. The legislation is already in force and you will need to comply with the requirements placed on the landlord before 1 June 2023.

This means that the process in recovering possession of your property will take much longer and you should therefore consider your position sooner rather than later.

Further obligations on landlords

The new legislation has included that landlords will need to ensure homes are fit for human habitation. This includes having electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted.

What does this mean for me?

Given the complex amendments to the law in this area, there are bound to be some uncertainties. If you are unsure whether you have met all of the requirements placed upon you to date and/or you are concerned about continuing to comply moving forward, please do not hesitate to contact property dispute lawyers James Melvin-Bath or Bethen Abraham for advice.

It is important you seek specialist advice to ensure that you remain compliant with your obligations or for advice to seek to rectify previous non-compliance.

Equally, if you would like to begin the process of evicting a tenant on either the no fault or fault-based grounds, please contact our expert team for assistance on beginning this process – we will be more than happy to help.

Contact us

Our Legal 500 and Chambers-rated litigation & dispute resolution team help private and commercial clients to resolve a wide range of disputes, including those related to property.

Disclaimer: All legal information is correct at the time of publication but please be aware that laws may change over time. This article contains general legal information but should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek professional legal advice about your specific situation - contact us; we’d be delighted to help.
Bethen Abraham LLB (Hons), LLM
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