Janet Finch-Saunders: Welsh tenants are being let down by their Government

Janet Finch-Saunders: Welsh tenants are being let down by their Government

0:01 AM, 13th January 2023, About A year ago 11

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Not only has the Welsh MS Janet Finch-Saunders branded the new tenancy laws in Wales as a ‘disaster’ for landlords – but says that tenants are being failed by the Welsh Government and homelessness will get worse.

The Labour-led government in Wales is supported by Plaid Cymru which has seen the introduction of Rent Smart Wales in recent years – and, more recently, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

This new law fundamentally changes the way that landlords can operate and, among other things, sees tenancy agreements being replaced with ‘occupation contracts’, and the ‘no fault’ notice period is extended from two to six months.

And now Ms Finch-Saunders, the Shadow Minister for Climate Change in the Senedd, says that she is seeing more constituents ending up on the homeless list because there are so few homes to rent – and she warns that things will get worse in 2023.

‘They’re told it’s temporary accommodation’

She says: “I’ve got people in golf clubs in Conwy County. I’ve got people in hotel rooms, I’ve got people in B and B’s, and they’re told it is temporary accommodation, but they’re there for months.

“The Local Authority spending on housing them was around £1.2m in 2019/20, £2.5m in 2020/21, and now they are estimating £7m.

“The costs just keep going up. They are putting people in hotels in my constituency at eyewatering amounts a room and that’s just a basic cost per day. It’s just unsustainable.”

Ms Finch-Saunders says the Welsh Labour Government and their co-operation partners in Plaid Cymru should stop targeting holiday let people, second homeowners and private sector landlords and create more homes instead.

‘People who contribute to our economy’

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “They are going after people who contribute to our economy.

“But we’ve had 25 years of a lack of ambition in Wales and the Welsh Labour Government does not understand business. They do not understand aspiration or ambition. It’s really sad.”

Rather than clamp down on the PRS in Wales, Ms Finch-Saunders says that public land should be freed up by the Welsh Government.

She says: “Local authority land, health authority land, is somewhere they could go and build some rented social housing, some affordable housing. But again, there’s no ambition.”

‘I’m glad my landlord can’t do this anymore’

Pointing at the new laws, Ms Finch-Saunders said: “I’ve spoken with tenants who, once upon a time, might have thought, ‘Oh, I’m glad my landlord can’t do this anymore. My landlord can’t do that’.

“But now we’ve got tenants saying, ‘I’ve lost my home now, thanks to the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru because my landlord has told me it’s because of these regulations’.

“They are asking, ‘Why has he served me with a section 21? There are no houses. I have to move into a hotel now’.

“And then they say to me, ‘So, will you tell the Welsh Government, Janet? That this is their fault that I’m losing my home’. I’m hearing that now on a regular basis.”

Realising that the laws are failing them

She says that growing numbers of tenants who thought that the new laws were being introduced to help them are, in fact, realising that the laws are failing them.

Previously, Ms Finch-Saunders had told Property118.com that the new laws were a ‘disaster for landlords’ and the fear of its introduction had seen landlords issuing Section 21 notices.

She also warns that by extending the notice period to six months won’t help landlords either because with the slow court process, a landlord could see a possession process now taking more than 12 months.

There is, however, a simple solution to deliver extra homes for tenants in Wales and that is to focus on the number of empty properties, she says.

‘More empty homes in communities’

Ms Finch-Saunders explained: “The Welsh Government keeps going on about second homeowners and having a go at them but historically there are more empty homes in communities than there are second homes.

“And now private landlords have just had enough. They’ve lost all confidence – though I doubt they ever had much confidence in Rent Smart Wales because it doesn’t function at all well.”

Ms Finch-Saunders says that the Welsh Government has created a housing crisis that is hurting tenants and landlords.

She said: “Right from when the government brought in Rent Smart Wales, I said there has to be a balance.

“All that a private sector landlord wants is for someone to look after that property and pay their rent.

“But sometimes, you know, they’re not the ideal tenants that are in these properties and there is a risk factor for landlords to consider.”

‘The law now is skewed heavily in favour of the tenant’

She added: “A landlord will need to buy a property, and they often spend a lot of money refurbishing it, but the law now is skewed heavily in favour of the tenant.

“There’s no education for tenants to pay rent and avoid being evicted and this is in a house that a landlord has had to work long hours to buy to put the tenant in.”

The MS says that rents in Cardiff and her own constituency are increasing as tenant demand for fewer properties begins to make itself felt.

She said: “Properties that were £800 a month are going up to £1,000 a month because the market is shrinking. Landlords can charge more.

“So again, that’s going to be felt by many tenants and there will be families who cannot afford those higher rents.

“Why should tenants be priced out of the market by Welsh Government legislation? If Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru want people to have a place to call home, they urgently need to acknowledge their mistake and suspend the new law.”

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Happy Landlord

12:03 PM, 13th January 2023, About A year ago

I am a PSL, I live in Wales but none of my properties are in Wales. The government in Wales is a disaster on so many levels - yet people are too blind to see that every time the Welsh government does anything to do with housing the only people they hurt are the tenants - no ambition and no sense either. They clearly cannot see past the end of their nose - most labour authorities do not seem to be able to do that anyway- clobber the wealthy landlord and forget completely that it is the tenant who ultimately pays, if the government both local and central kept out of the PRS rents would be lower and for the most part tenants would have a much better deal at lower prices

Mick Roberts

14:08 PM, 13th January 2023, About A year ago

Wow, tell her to come talk for us lot. First person in authority that can see what is happening & speak the truth.

Ian Narbeth

14:41 PM, 13th January 2023, About A year ago

Janet Finch-Saunders is absolutely right but as a Conservative she is unlikely to be in Government in that socialist enclave of Britain any time soon.

Perhaps she could talk some sense into Michael Gove and the other (soi-disant) Conservatives who have passed such rotten anti-landlord laws over the past 12 1/12 years.

Nick Gittins

16:06 PM, 13th January 2023, About A year ago

WOW !!! - Finally an MP with a brain in their head - all landlords should support this leading light as much as possible - Please

Chris Bradley

17:18 PM, 13th January 2023, About A year ago

While I agree that the new Welsh Laws are making landlords think about leaving the rental market, I think that the only ones that will leave will be the smaller portfolio individual landlords who provide quality properties and look for long term stable tenants. The ones that will stay will be larger company landlord who prefer a high tenant turnover with maximum rents. The rouge (bad) unregistered landlords will also stay after all they didn't comply with previously legislation so why would they comply with the new legislation. The prosecutions are always against known landlords with the hidden bad ones remaining undetected or making their company go bankrupt so they can't be held liable for fines or be personally blamed


8:05 AM, 14th January 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Happy Landlord at 13/01/2023 - 12:03
Well, Labour are hurting LL in Wales, Tories are doing the same in England and the Scottish government aren't any better either. So maybe now is the time for an alternative party to take up the mantle of power in the UK?

Dave Taylor

9:37 AM, 14th January 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Happy Landlord at 13/01/2023 - 12:03
I own 14 houses and I'm in proses of selling all due to new laws 4 section 21 s
given out in October big problems on way for Labour with there new laws


13:05 PM, 14th January 2023, About A year ago

Happy Landlord, I too am a landlord in Wales. I can only agree with your sentiments. The Welsh Government cannot seem to put a foot right. Apart from the Renting Homes Wales Act which MS Janet Finch- Saunders rightly calls a disaster . ( I cannot understand some of the gobble de gook in the approximately fifty page “occupation contract” designed to simplify matters, so I am not sure how some tenants, sorry contract holders, will manage. ) The government, so called,
has wasted money buying Cardiff Airport which it now has to subsidise with tax payers’ money, buying a farm as a base for the Green Man festival which is unwanted, encouraged speculators to buy up agricultural land for tree planting much to the anger of local farmers, paying out a million pound for a feasibility study for an m4 relief road which it then decides is not needed, proposing 20 mile per hour limits on all residential roads at a cost of millions, buying a 900 acre land site at Baglan Bay for 1.75 million which as yet it has no plans for, etc . Unfortunately, as Ian implied, a sheep has more chance of ousting the Labour Party from office in Wales than the Conservatives.

Happy Landlord

14:41 PM, 14th January 2023, About A year ago

Reply to Tom and everyone else - yes vanity projects all over the place paid for by us and for the most part a complete waste of money - Its a shame - a lovely country with for the most part lovely people - shame about the government!!

Sian Hopkins

17:12 PM, 15th January 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Tom at 14/01/2023 - 13:05
Totally agree with all points.
Why do we need a Welsh government.. a further layer of unnecessary,expensive bureaucracy!

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