New regulations demanding landlords in Wales give comprehensive information packs to prospective tenants before accepting holding deposits have been pulled.
Landlords were told that from Friday (December 13) they would have to provide a list of data to prospective tenants, despite the regulations only being confirmed just weeks earlier on November 15.
However, the Welsh Government has now pulled the plans following the intervention of the RLA.
Landlords had been told they needed to provide the following information – in writing – to a prospective tenant, in accordance with The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Specified Information) (Wales) Regulations 2019:
- amount of holding deposit;
- identify the dwelling in respect of which the deposit is paid;
- name, address, telephone number and any email address of the landlord (and if instructed, the letting agent);
- nature and duration of the contract;
- proposed occupation date;
- amount of rent or other consideration;
- rental period;
- any proposed additional contract terms or proposed modifications or exclusions to fundamental or supplementary terms;
- amount of any security deposit;
- whether a guarantor is required and, if so, any relevant conditions;
- reference checks the landlord (or letting agent) will undertake; and
- information the landlord or letting agent requires from the prospective contract-holder.
The RLA was particularly concerned about point c – the need for a landlord to provide a personal address at this stage in the process – and wrote to the Minister for Housing and Local Government to convey those worries.
The Welsh Government said the Minister considered the concerns carefully, and decided to address them by revoking the Regulations and replacing them under The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Holding Deposit) (Specified Information) (Wales) Regulations 2019 (the “Replacement Regulations”).
The Welsh Government said it still believes the tenant should be provided with details of the contract to give an informed decision.
However, it has agreed to amend the regulations to prevent a landlord from having to provide a home address to a prospective tenant before a holding deposit is taken.
The regulations have been changed to specify that “contact details” will be required to be provided by the landlord and/or agent, and where their property is being managed by an agent, only the agent’s contact details will be required.
Contact details are not defined and therefore a business address could be provided rather than a home address.
It also recognised landlords and agents need more time to make the changes and has delayed implementation of replacement regulations until February 28th, 2020.
Following a request for clarification from the Welsh Government, RLA Wales has ascertained that “there is no requirement for the landlord’s home address to be supplied at any stage should an alternative contact address be given.”
Douglas Haig, Director for Wales and Vice-Chair of the RLA said: “We are delighted the Minister listened to what we had to say and has adjusted the regulations accordingly. This goes to show that working in partnership can lead to better and more balanced outcomes.
“We were very clear going into this that our only intentions were to ensure landlords could be compliant with the law and that their data was protected, and we are glad to have achieved these through constructive conversations with Assembly Members.”