It was only recently that LandlordBuyer reported the Welsh Government’s plans to allow its local authorities to charge council tax premiums up to 300% for second homes and long-term empty properties. While landlords have until April 2023 to plan for this amendment, a new set of lettings legislation takes effect much sooner.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 represents the biggest change to how property is rented and managed in Wales for a generation. Landlords should note the deadline for incoming changes is 15th July 2022, from when enhanced tenants’ rights and stricter standards will come into force.
The most important changes in Wales include:
- The scrapping of tenancy agreements between the tenant and the landlord. These will be replaced by ‘occupation contracts’, with an associated written statement that sets out the terms of the contract and tenants referred to as contract holders. Landlords operating in the private rental sector will enter into a ‘standard occupation contract’.
- The ‘no fault’ notice period will extend from two to six months, affording tenants greater security in their homes.
- There will be improved succession rights outlining who has the right to stay in a property should, for instance, an incumbent tenant die.
- It will also become easier for joint contract holders to manage their tenancy, with a more straightforward way of adding people to an ‘occupation contract’ or removing others
- Welsh landlords will be obliged to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation by engaging with electrical safety testing, and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted. Rent will not be payable during periods when a property is deemed unfit for human habitation.
- Abandoned properties can be repossessed without needing a court order.
The new Act affects existing tenancies too
It’s not just new tenancies in Wales that will be affected. Existing tenancies agreements will switch to the ‘occupation contract’ on 15th July but there is a manual element. Landlords will have a maximum of six months to issue a written statement of the converted ‘occupation contract’ to their contract holders. A paper contract must be issued unless the contract holder has agreed to an electronic version.
Landlords in Wales should note that they will be unable to give notice unless they have complied with certain obligations, including registration and licensing with Rent Smart Wales and deposit protection rules.
Need further clarification?
LandlordBuyer is up-to-speed with the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, so get in touch for a full explanation of how the new law will affect the running and profitability of your Welsh buy-to-let.
If, after learning about the legislation changes, you decide to exit the private rental market in Wales, LandlordBuyer can offer you a quick, asset disposal service with completion well before the 15th July deadline. We purchase all buy-to-lets, including those with tenants in situ, abandoned properties, unmodernised rentals and flats with short leases. Start now with a no obligation cash offer.