1 December 2022 is set to mark the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades as the Renting Homes (Wales) Act (RHWA) 2016 is expected to be implemented.
The aim of the Act is to consolidate and modernise existing legislation and to introduce protections for most residential occupiers in the rented sector in Wales.
What are the headline changes?
- Tenancy agreements will be replaced with ‘occupation contracts’. Two new forms of these will be created: the standard contract, modelled on the present assured shorthold tenancy (AST) and the secure contract, modelled on the present secure tenancy currently issued by local authorities. A standard contract will be used for the private rented sector and the secure contract will be used for the social rented sector.
- The majority of existing agreements for residential occupation, including licences, will be converted into an occupation contract
- New provisions relating to termination of occupation contracts and recovery of possession, potentially entitling the tenant to longer notice periods
- Succession rights may be introduced to some occupation contracts unless this is expressly excluded from the occupation contract.
- A new tenancy deposit scheme which will apply to all occupation contracts
- New provisions in relation to the landlord’s duties for repair and maintenance of the dwelling to ensure that the property is fit for human habitation (as defined by the regulations) from the occupation date for the duration of the contract.
If you rent out a property in Wales then now more than ever, it is vital that you think carefully before you enter into a new agreement. It is important to consult the RHWA 2016 before you allow anyone into occupation to ensure that there are no unintended consequences.