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The Welsh government have introduced a Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill that amends the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. The new law would give tenants in Wales a guaranteed minimum of 12 months’ protection against eviction at the start of a new tenancy if they have not breached the terms of their contract.
The Bill will be initially considered by the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee and oral evidence sessions are scheduled from 27/02/20. If the Bill is passed the new law will come into force in Spring of 2021.
The Government press release states:
The Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill is due to be introduced before the Senedd by Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James.
Amongst other things, the Bill will increase to six months the period at the start of a new let during which a landlord’s notice cannot be issued. It will also increase the minimum notice period a landlord must give when seeking to end a contract where there has been no breach of its terms, from two months to six months. Combined, these changes will provide 12 months’ security of occupation for contract holders where there is no breach of contract.
Landlords’ property rights will continue to be protected through the retention of their ability to issue a possession notice with a shorter notice period – one month – if the contract has been breached.
The proposed change in the law is designed to provide greater security for people who rent their home, particularly those who live in the private rented sector, whilst also enabling landlords to regain possession of their property, when necessary, in a timely manner.
The Bill amends the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 – one of the most significant pieces of legislation to be passed by the Senedd – which will directly affect the lives of over one million people who rent their home in Wales.
Should the Bill be passed by Members of the Senedd, it is anticipated the new law will come into force in the spring of 2021.
Housing Minister, Julie James said: “The new Bill I am unveiling today will add further significant protections for those who rent their home in Wales to those already included in our landmark Renting Homes legislation. These include, ensuring that a possession notice where there is no breach of contract cannot be served for the first six months of occupation, and where possession is sought, giving the contract holder six months’ notice.
“This will provide valuable time for individuals and families faced with possession under section 173, and the organisations and agencies that support them, to find a new home that is right for them and make all necessary arrangements for a smooth transition to their new home.
“I believe the Renting Homes (Wales) Act, as amended, will provide a sound basis for renting in Wales: balancing the needs and rights of both tenants and landlords and helping ensure our PRS is a well-managed option for households.”
David Cox,ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, said: “Extending notice periods from two months to six months under the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill will cause further shockwaves for landlords and agents. The proposals will make it even more difficult for landlords to reclaim possession of their property and add further longevity to an already lengthy and expensive eviction process.
“We are concerned that landlords will have no viable option of evicting problem tenants quickly and efficiently due to current court procedures. If landlords sell up due to the perceived risk, this will shrink the sector and contribute to landlords being more selective about who they let their property to. The Welsh Assembly must reconsider extending the minimum notice period and take a long-term, holistic view that supports those who are providing professional and well managed tenancies.”
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