Many landlords in Wales will already be aware of the Licensing and Registration scheme, Rent Smart Wales, which is due to start later this autumn. What many landlords may not be aware of is the Renting Homes Bill, which is currently making its way through the National Assembly. The Renting Homes Bill looks to radically alter the way tenancy contracts are written in Wales, using a number of Fundamental, prescribed and additional terms to create a ‘standard contract’, as well as introducing a Key Matters document.
The RLA have been especially busy in Wales working with Welsh Government on the Renting Homes Bill to make sure the landlords’ voice is heard. So far the RLA has successfully rebuffed attempts to include Rent Controls within the Bill, as well as proposals to remove a landlords’ no-fault eviction notice (section 21 notice). We have also been working hard to ensure a Retaliatory Eviction clause does not act as a potential weapon against landlords.
We have also managed to secure a number of provisions for landlords. Such as a new abandonment procedure, which means you won’t need to get a court order should you suspect a property has been abandoned. We’ve also reduced the possibility of having the courts interfere with your business if you increase the rent during a tenancy (rent assessment tribunals).
We have also maintained the ability for letting agents to charge fees to tenants which means that, at least in practice, agents should not have to pass this cost onto the landlord.
During stage 2 of the Bill the RLA has submitted over 60 amendments to make the Renting Homes Bill more acceptable for landlord and gained cross-party support for many of them.
Although we have protected landlords from many of the provisions that are being introduced in other parts of the country, for example Scotland where they have introduced Rent Controls and are doing away with Section 21 notices, we still have areas we are fighting on and our work is far from done.
The Minister in charge of the Bill previously committed to removing the 6 month moratorium, the minimum fixed-period which you issue at the start of a new tenancy. The Minister previously said that removing it “will improve the position of many who are currently excluded from the assured tenancy arrangements-The moratorium does definitely make some landlords not want to give tenancies to people they deem as high risk, as I’ve said. So, I think it’s about getting that balance. I do want to see people not being driven towards poorer housing “
The Minister has however U-turned and committed to reintroducing the moratorium during Stage 3 of the Bill. Commenting on the Ministers U-turn, RLA Vice Chairman for Wales, Douglas Haig said: “The Government’s U-turn cannot be swept aside as a minor detail. As the Minister’s comments make clear, maintaining the moratorium risks vulnerable tenants accessing much needed housing at short notice. Even at this late stage we call on the Government to think again and do as they originally intended, namely encourage and support landlords to house the most vulnerable in society.”
To keep up with all the latest developments on the Renting Homes Bill and the new Wales Wide Licensing and Registration Scheme, visit our dedicated RLA Wales website here (http://www.rla.wales/policies-news/category/policies/)