On 1st December 2022, Amendments to the Renting Homes Act came into force, resulting in some significant changes to the rental sector in Wales. We wanted to offer an overview of those changes to make sure you are aware of how these changes will affect you.
Tenants and licensees are now called ‘contract holders’ under the Act and tenancy agreements and license arrangements have been replaced with an ‘occupation contract’.
Properties are known as dwellings.
The type of occupation contract that most private landlords will have will be called a standard contract: this is the default contract for the private rented sector (PRS).
For new rentals after 1st December 2022, the written statement (the name they give to the document that was previously your tenancy agreement) must be issued within 14 days of occupation under the contract. Existing tenancy agreements will ‘convert’ to the relevant occupation contract on the 1st December 2022, and landlords have a maximum of six months to issue a written statement of the converted occupation contract to their contract holders. The written statement can be issued in hardcopy or, if the contract holder agrees, electronically.
This is a major change that comes into force all on one day rather than waiting for tenancies to renew.
Our own managed landlords will be provided with fully compliant documents and the steps detailed above carried out on their behalf. If you are not one of our landlords and would like to be, or would like our help and advice, contact us today.
Apart from changing the fundamental nature of the agreement, the main other changes that affect landlords are as follows;
- Where a ‘no fault’ notice is issued, the minimum notice period that must be given is 6 months.
- A landlord will not be able to give such a notice until 6 months after the contract starts, meaning the minimum term will be 12 months going forwards.
- A landlord will not be able to give such a notice unless they have complied with certain obligations, including registration and licensing with Rent Smart Wales and deposit protection rules.
- Landlord break clauses will only be able to be incorporated into a fixed term occupation contract if the contract has a fixed term of 2 years or more. A landlord will not be able to exercise a break clause within the first 18 months of occupation.
- You must ensure properties are fit for human habitation (FFHH). This will include for instance, electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted. In addition, rent will not be payable for any period during which the dwelling is not fit for human habitation.
- If a landlord issued a ‘no fault’ possession notice in response to a request for repair (commonly known as a retaliatory eviction), the court can refuse to make a possession order and it will not be possible to issue a further ‘no fault’ notice until 6 months later.
- A joint contract holder will be able to leave a contract without ending the contract entirely.
- New joint contract holders can be added without having to end the current contract and start another one.
- Both a ‘priority’ and ‘reserve’ successor can succeed to the occupation contract. This allows two successions to the contract to take place, for example a spouse followed by another family member. In addition, a new succession right for carers is created.
- You are able to repossess an abandoned property without needing a court order, after serving a four week warning notice and carrying out investigations to satisfy yourself that the property is abandoned.
Rest assured that we will have all of the necessary amended processes in place to look after the properties of our landlords on fully managed contracts and to ensure they remain compliant with the new laws. If you have any questions, please contact us today.
If you are not an existing client and would like to discuss how we could help you, please contact us today.