Over the last 5 years, Welsh and English housing law have grown further and further apart.
English law has seen a number of changes that simply do not affect Wales at all, leading to different forms, penalties, and responsibilities for landlords and agents.
The largely static nature of Welsh housing law is due to the wait for the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 to be implemented. This legislation will replace most of the existing tenancy law with new rules. This includes mandatory tenancy agreements (called occupation contracts), new eviction notices, an increased length of time before the rent can be increased and many more.
However, not everything has remained static. In some areas the Welsh Assembly has continued to push on with adding new requirements on landlords and home owners. Most notably the introduction of licensing and registration for landlords and agents across the country.
This week’s call however, was about something a little less well known.
The member called because he was confused by a requirement he’d never heard of before. The landlord owned a number of properties on the border between Cheshire and Clwyd. His business mainly focused on renovating run down properties that he found at a steep discount, before renting them out to new tenants.
The landlord had used his usual English contractor for a new purchase in Wales. The work had been performed to the standard of the Building Regulations in England. He was surprised then when he was told by the local authority that he had failed to comply with the Building Regulations because he hadn’t installed fire sprinklers across most of the property.
Confused, the landlord called us to find out if the local authority was mistaken and whether he had really had to install the systems?
Unfortunately, we had to tell him that yes, this is a requirement in Wales and has been since 2016. As such the landlord would have to comply with the requirement to put sprinkler systems in here.
We also advised him that he should always make sure that in future, his contractors are aware of the differences between Welsh and English Building Regulations.
Rupinder Aujla, LAT Manager said ‘for many years landlords could rely on English and Welsh laws remaining the same but increasingly, this is simply not possible to do. The RLA has a large number of landlords who operate in Wales and we are always happy to provide assistance with the current differences, and we will continue to do so as even more changes come in the future.’