The law relating to renting private property in Wales has changed dramatically. It is an area of law where the rules in England and Wales are very different. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 did not come into force until 1 December 2022. The Act is the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades and changed the way all landlords in Wales rent their property. The changes impact on how properties are rented and managed.
The key changes introduced by the Act are outlined by Gov.Wales as follows:
Who is affected by the new law?
All social and private tenants will see some changes:
- in the way their contracts are provided
- in the way their homes are maintained
- to how they communicate with their landlords.
All social and private landlords, including those who rent their properties through management companies or agents, will need to:
- comply with the new law
- make the necessary updates to their properties and paperwork.
What does the new law mean for me?
Under the new law, tenants and licensees are now known as 'contract-holders'. Tenancy agreements have been replaced with 'occupation contracts'.
The new law will make renting easier and provide greater security.
For contract-holders this will mean:
- receiving a written contract setting out your rights and responsibilities
- an increase in the 'no fault' notice period from two to six months
- greater protection from eviction
- improved succession rights, these set out who has a right to continue to live in a dwelling, for example after the current tenant dies
- more flexible arrangements for joint contract-holders, making it easier to add or remove others to an occupation contract.
For landlords this will mean:
- A simpler system, with two types of contract: 'Secure' for the social rented sector and 'Standard' for the private rented sector.
- Ensuring homes are fit for human habitation (FFHH). This will include electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted.
- Abandoned properties can be repossessed without needing a court order.
If you are thinking about letting your property in Wales or you want to rent a property in Wales, you should consider taking specialist legal advice. Not all law firms will be up to date on these important changes.
To discuss this or any other landlord and tenant matter, contact us.