'Biggest change to housing law in decades' coming to Wales in six months

Renters will get greater protection under the law

Greater protection for renters in Wales will be brought into law in six months, in what has been described as "the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades".

When the Renting Homes (Wales) Act is introduced on July 15, all contract-holders will be given 12 months of security at the start of their tenancy.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “The way we rent in Wales will become simpler and more transparent this year.”

"This Act represents the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades.

“The Act will make it simpler and easier to rent a home in Wales, replacing various, complex pieces of existing legislation and case law with one clear legal framework.

"When in place, contract-holders in Wales will have greater security of tenure than in any other part of the UK.”

Some of the main changes brought in by the Act will include:

  • All landlords being required to provide a written copy of the occupation contract to the tenant (called the ‘contract-holder’ in the legislation). This sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

  • 'No-fault' notice periods increasing from two months to six months. It will no longer be possible to issue a notice in the first six months, meaning all contract-holders will have a minimum 12 months of security at the start of their tenancy.

  • A strengthened duty on landlords, to ensure the property they rent is fit for human habitation including the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and regular electrical safety testing.

  • Addressing the practice of 'retaliatory eviction' (whereby a landlord serves notice on a tenant because they ask for repairs, or complain about poor conditions).

  • The introduction of a consistent approach across sectors to eviction where antisocial behaviour and domestic violence, occurs.

The Welsh Government has launched a national awareness campaign to try and ensure both landlords and tenants are aware of the changes that will take effect from July 2022.

The new legislation will come into force in July of this year Credit: PA Images

In response to the Welsh Government's announcement the National Residential Landlords Association, a body which represents landlords across the UK, said it welcomed the news but stressed there was a "pressing need for more clarity".

Chris Norris, director of policy and campaigns at the NRLA, said: "With the Welsh Government now moving forward with its plans to implement the Renting Homes Wales Act, there is still a pressing need for more clarity as to what the supporting framework of the Act looks like.

"The extent of landlords' future obligations under this legislation also underlines how crucial it is that existing legislation be made fit for purpose before new regulations are introduced.

"While we welcome the introduction of the Act, it is vital that the supporting legislation is fit for purpose and scrutinised sufficiently.

"In particular, the occupation contract terms, which all landlords must use, needs to improve significantly from its original consultation draft.

"These important steps must be taken before more complex regulations are introduced by the Welsh Government over the course of this year."