What recent law changes in Wales mean for landlords

Recent changes to legislation in Wales (Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016) means that landlords now have some new responsibilities and requirements to meet from December 2022 onwards. We’ve summarised the main changes relating to landlords below.

Tenants are now known as ‘contract-holders’

Tenants are now referred to as contract-holders. This means, amongst other things, that joint contract holders can leave or join tenancies without new contracts being needed.

Tenancy agreements are now known as ‘occupancy contracts’

The new contracts (replacing ASTs) simplify the terms and agreement between landlord and contract-holders so that everyone is aware of their various rights and responsibilities. The landlord needs to issue a copy of the occupancy contract, along with an inventory, to the contract-holder(s) within 14 days of the agreement starting. 

All existing ASTs need to be converted to occupancy contracts, even if the terms are remaining the same, with a new written statement (copy of the new contract) issued by 31st May 2023.

Any changes that the landlord wishes to make to the occupancy contract, such as rent increases or giving notice, have to be done in the correct way or they are not legally valid. 

Changes to landlords giving notice
Previously, the minimum notice that landlords had to give tenants when issuing a no-fault eviction was two months. This has now increased to six months. Notice cannot be issued until at least six months after the agreement began. 

In the case of the contract-holder breaching the terms of the occupancy contract e.g. rent arrears, the landlord can issue notice of one month. In the event of a serious breach e.g. serious rent arrears (of more than two months) or anti-social behaviour, the notice period can be shorter than this. 

If the property seems to have been abandoned by the contract-holder, the landlord can regain possession of it after serving a four-week warning notice and investigating if the property has indeed been abandoned.

The contact-holder’s deposit will need to be protected in the same way as previously, within one of the three approved schemes.

If the contract-holder wishes to give notice to the landlord (outside of a fixed term), this period is a minimum of four weeks.

New requirements that all rental properties must be safe and fit for human habitation

Landlords have long been required to ensure their property is safe and adequately maintained, but the new legislation outlines specific standards that must be met with regard to safety, electricals and repairs. Landlords must make good any damage done during repairs, must give 24-hours’ notice before inspections or carrying out repairs (apart from in emergencies) and must cover the cost of repairs that were not the contract-holder’s fault.

At the Big Estate Agency, our lettings team can help ensure that you have everything in order before you let your property in North Wales. Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can assist you.

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