17:14 PM, 27th December 2022, About 11 months ago 10
Are private landlords in Wales being set up to fail with the new legislation?
The recently implemented Renting Homes (Wales) Act has automatically replaced all existing ASTs with a new “Occupation Contract” from 1 December 2022.
All landlords are now required to issue “Written Statements” (effectively replacement contracts) to tenants (now called “Contract Holders”) within six months – so existing ASTs have to be “converted” into a RHW compliant contract.
The draft RHW compliant contract runs to some 42 pages. Landlords need to consider each and every clause, and ensure that every line and word of their new contract is compliant. This will be a huge task for every individual tenancy, and the sanction for getting it wrong is, in many cases the inability to re-gain possession in any circumstances; legal withholding of rent or rent repayment orders, possibly two or three of these sanctions.
I can just hear the likes of Gen Rent, Shelter and No Win No Fee Lawyers rubbing their hands together.
The NRLA have been of some, limited use – they have issued a direct conversion contract, but only for their most recent contract which has been is existence only a couple of years . This is no help with existing NLA or RLA contracts (which most of our tenants are on) nor in converting any of the many other contracts which are in use.
I paid the fees to attend NRLA training on this specific matter some while ago. Also on the course were two representatives of a letting agency with several hundred tenancies under their control. We were all hoping to learn how to efficiently, effectively and compliantly convert these various contracts. We all left the course no wiser (in this regard) than before it started. I pointed this out to the NRLA and they refunded my course fees!
I will say that the course did address (successfully) the matters of fitting compliant smoke and CO alarms, and getting electrical inspections done – but this is the easy part. It’s the new contracts that are the ongoing problem.
We are quite experienced landlords – not afraid of a bit of administrative paperwork, and our tenants usually stay with us for years, but my wife is losing sleep – worrying about how to stay compliant.
We know that the stated aim of both the UK and the (so called) Welsh Government to do away with the small, private landlord and this may well be a step in this direction. I cannot see how any landlords can be sure of having compliant contracts by the end of the six-month deadline.
No wonder so many private landlords and agents are running for the hills.
Or have I got this all wrong – am I missing something here?
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