All new tenancies in Wales from 1 December will have a statutory six-month no-fault notice period, while existing tenancies that convert to occupation contracts will see the extension under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 take effect from 1 June next year.
The move follows a consultation that led to 1,400 responses and 90% of those were from landlords and letting agents – and the majority of those stated they were against the extension of six month notice periods.
Those views have been ignored.
Instead, the Welsh housing minister Julie James says that all tenants and tenant representative bodies were in favour of the extension – and most of them said it should be applied from 1 December, rather than 1 June 2023.
The National Residential Landlords Association had urged for the extension to be delayed by up to two years.
‘Extension of the six-month no-fault notice period’
Ms James said: “The proposed extension of the six-month no-fault notice period was always going to generate highly contrasting views.
“Whilst noting the views of those landlords and agents that responded, I have decided that the societal and individual benefits accruing from the extension outweigh the negative impact on individual landlords, particularly in view of shorter notice periods of one month or less applying where there is a breach of contract.”
She also said that landlords will need the extra time to plan for the change as this would offer a ‘reasonable balance between the rights of tenants and those of landlords’.
The effect it will have on landlords
However, Propertymark says that the move fails to take into account the effect it will have on landlords.
Tim Thomas, the organisation’s policy and campaigns officer said: “Letting agents and their landlords showed great flexibility at the outset of the pandemic in their support of extended notice periods, but again we have a government pursuing permanent changes to what were supposed to be temporary measures.
“The Welsh Government says extending notice periods for existing tenancies from June is necessary to bring down the rising cost to taxpayers of temporary accommodation.
“What it fails to understand is the knock-on effect this strengthening of tenants’ rights will have on the confidence of landlords. New tenancies will also have to comply by 1 December.”
‘Need to know they can regain possession of their property’
He added: “The private landlords our member agents represent have become important housing providers, but they need to know they can regain possession of their property when they need to do so.
“The best way to support tenants is to focus on policies that can increase the supply of housing rather than those that will constrain it.”
Propertymark is hosting a FREE webinar about the Renting Homes (Wales) Act at 12pm on 23 November when Simon White, the head of housing strategy for the Welsh Government, will explain the biggest shake-up of Welsh housing law in detail and take questions.