On 10 February the Welsh government introduced the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill. With this Bill the government hopes that tenants in Wales will enjoy greater security.
If passed the Bill will amend the yet to come into force Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (2016 Act) especially for those who occupy rental properties under a ‘standard occupation contract’ the equivalent to the assured shorthold tenancy.
The main aim of the Bill is to extend the minimum notice period for issuing a section 173 notice under the 2016 Act. The section 173 notice is the equivalent of the section 21 notice under the Housing Act 1988. This extension will see tenants given 6 months-notice as opposed to the current 2. Landlords will also be prevented from issuing any notice until after the tenant has occupied a property for 6 months. This means that tenants will occupy properties for 12 months before any such notice expires.
Further protection will also see landlords prohibited from relying on expired notices which they may have served speculatively, thus undermining a tenant’s sense of security. The Minister of Housing and Local Government has also suggested that further protection will be included in the Bill to prevent unscrupulous landlords taking advantage of any perceived loopholes.
Given the 2016 Act is yet to come into force this amendment seems a little premature and lacks much in the way of justification in terms of an obvious need. However, it seems to reflect the change in attitudes toward the private rented sector since the passing of the original bill. At the current time there is no indication that the Welsh government intends to change the Housing Act 1988 in Wales and so there will be no change until the 2016 Act comes into force, probably in early 2021.
The contents of this blog post is not legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. If legal advice is needed readers should contact a solicitor. No responsibility for any information contained within this post is accepted and PainSmith solicitors accepts no liability in respect of the contents or for action taken based on this post.
Published 20 February 2020