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Extending notice period for Section 21 notices – Wales

The Welsh Government has announced that it will consult on extending the notice period for the equivalent to the s.21 notice in the renting Homes (Wales) Act from 2 months to 6.

The plan to extend the notice period was announced by housing minister Julie James and will see an amendment to s.173 of Renting Homes (Wales) Act which is not yet in force. When it comes into force the Housing Act 1988 will be entirely replaced in Wales by the Renting Homes (Wales) Act. Section 173 provides an equivalent power to s.21 of the Housing Act 1988 in that it allows landlords to seek possession without having to give a specific reason provided that any fixed contractual term has come to an end.

Under the current version of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act, a s.173 notice cannot be served until the tenant has been in occupation for 4 months. They must also give 2 months notice, giving the tenant a total of 6 months in the property. The Welsh government is proposing to extend the 2 month notice period to 6 months and also extend the 4 month period to 6 months, meaning that tenants will get at least 12 months in a property.

The Welsh Government has previously considered ending s.21 notices but it now seems that they will put their focus on the Renting Homes (Wales) Act and they have elected to increase notice periods rather than get rid of the notice altogether. However, Shelter Cymru considers this an interim move and is still committed to seeing a complete end to s.173 notices at some stage in the future. Landlords will no doubt see this approach from the Welsh government as preferable to the complete abolition of s.173 notices but they will need to continue to have an eye to the future and the possible removal of this power for good.

Published 17 July 2019

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