This means that tenants in Wales will have the greatest protection from the start of their contract than in any other part of the UK.
Now the Welsh Government set out an explanation of how it will work, specifically in relation to landlords.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 simplifies how you rent properties. There are two types of landlord under Act:
- community landlords (primarily local authorities and registered social landlords); and
- private landlords (all other landlords).
Tenants and licensees are called ‘contract-holders’ under the Act. Contract-holders will have an ‘occupation contract’ (which replaces tenancy and licence arrangements).
There are two types of occupation contract:
- secure contract: for use by community landlords.
- standard contract: this is the default contract for the private rented sector (PRS), but can be by local authorities and RSLs in certain circumstances (for example a ‘Supported standard contract’ within supported accommodation)
There are four types of terms that can feature in occupation contracts:
- Key matters: The names of the parties and address of the property. These must be inserted in every contract.
- Fundamental Terms: Cover the most important aspects of the contract, including the possession procedures and the landlord’s obligations regarding repair.
- Supplementary Terms: Deal with the more practical, day to day matters applying to the occupation contract, for example, the requirement for a contract-holder to notify the landlord if the property is going to be empty for four weeks or more.
- Additional Terms: Addresses any other specifically agreed matters, for example a term which relates to the keeping of pets. Any additional terms must be fair, as required by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
You will be required to issue a ‘written statement’ of the occupation contract to all contract-holders (this will replace your current tenancy or licence agreement). The written statement must contain all the terms of the contract.
For new rentals after the implementation date, the written statement must be issued within 14 days of occupation under the contract. Existing tenancy agreements will ‘convert’ to the relevant occupation contract on the day of implementation, 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.
The Welsh Government guidance continues:
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.
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 homes 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. The duties on landlords relating to FFHH can be found here and guidance can be found here. In addition, rent will not be payable for any period during which the dwelling is not fit for human habitation.
You must keep the structure and exterior of the property in repair and keep installations for the supply of water, gas or electricity, for sanitation, for space heating, and hot water in repair and proper working order.
If a landlord issued a ‘no fault’ possession notice in response to a request for repair (commonly known as 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 six months later.
You can find out more details here.
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