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Blog: The end of Section 21 in Wales?

David Smith
Written by David Smith

At the weekend, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford AM announced at the Welsh Labour party conference that the Welsh Government intends to axe Section 21 notices.

Soon after this announcement, our Vice-Chairman and Director for Wales Douglas Haig met with the First Minister of Wales, to ask him for more information. You can read more about this here.

Last week, the Housing Minister Julie James AM announced that this consultation will take place this summer.

The RLA has recently launched a survey for landlords, collecting their views on the possession process. Please click here to share your views.

In this blog, our policy director David Smith writes about this announcement in Wales.

“Over the weekend (and narrowly beating England to the punch!) the Welsh First Minister announced that Wales would be holding a consultation on getting rid of its own version of section 21.

In the Welsh case they do not in fact appear to be getting rid of section 21. What they are in fact proposing to do is to pass legislation which will amend the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 to remove sections 173 to 180 inclusive. These sections create an equivalent power to section 21 in that they allow a landlord to give a tenant notice without specifying any particular breach or reason. Presumably there will be other consequential amendments to other parts of the Act to allow for possession to be sought in other appropriate cases.

This is not a huge surprise in that the First Minister had already indicated that he was keen to do this. However, this takes the Act increasingly far from the conception originally put forward by the Law Commission and alters the balance in the legislation from that struck by the Law Commission and that originally approved by the Assembly. Whether other steps will be taken within the legislation to redress that balance remains to be seen.

Additionally, the Welsh government is not able to promise any aspect of Court or possession reform as it has no control over this area. Any changes to the possession process in Wales will essentially mirror those in England as they will be made by the Ministry of Justice, albeit that they will consult with the Welsh Government in doing so.

There is also the difficulty for the Welsh Government that they are seeking to amend an Act which is still not actually in force and which has been subject to considerable delays already. There is a risk that the Act will not be enforced before these changes are made in which case it will end up being delayed still further, possibly for some time.

“Further details will have to await the formal consultation in which the Welsh Government will have to make its intent clearer. However, this weekend has heralded a further period of significant change for the PRS with much more yet to come”.

*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

You can read the RLA’s guidance on Section 21 notices in Wales here.

About the author

David Smith

David Smith

David Smith is the Policy Director for the RLA and a Partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors. David obtained his degree and doctorate from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in International relations before re-qualifying as a lawyer. He is known for his expertise in residential landlord and tenant law and has advised the Welsh Assembly, local government, and numerous landlords and tenants of all sizes.

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