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Let's Talk Lettings Legislation (Part 2)

The long-awaited Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will be brought into force on 15th July 2022. The Act represents the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades.

We talked in our last blog about the Assured Shorthold Tenancy that all agents and landlords have been using since 1988, now being replaced by a standard occupation contract.

In this new standard occupation contract, after the initial fixed term has expired, the landlord will still generally be able to evict the contract holder as they currently do, provided they have given six months’ notice – this will now be called a section 173 notice which replaces the section 21 notice.

The Act will strengthen the duty on landlords to keep the rented premises in good repair (section 92) and to ensure that the property they rent out is fit for human habitation (section 91). This will include the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and the requirement to have regular electrical safety testing (section 94 in conjunction with the Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022.

Having seen what happened in England last year, my advice would be not to wait until the last minute to arrange an Electrical Installation Condition Report of your rental property when the demand for electricians will go through the roof and you could face delays - plan ahead and get your EICR arranged in advance. I will happily help you to arrange this certificate.

The Act will safeguard against retaliatory evictions which is when landlords evict their contract holders in response to reports of maintenance. A court may refuse to make a possession order if it considers this to be a retaliatory claim. It will be crucial for agents to keep meticulous notes of every report of maintenance made to them by contract holders and ensure that all follow up notes are also recorded without fail so there is an audit trail should a landlord ever find himself in court.

If you require more information, please contact our Lettings team on 01446 771777.