Renting in Wales: The new housing laws come into force for those renting a home

From 1 December, a new law will be implemented, changing the way all landlords in Wales rent their homes. Credit: PA

The biggest change to housing legislation in decades will be coming into force later this week, affecting both landlords and tenants.

From 1 December, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will be implemented, changing the way all landlords in Wales rent their properties.

After being postponed in July to allow the housing market more time to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the act aims to improve how properties are rented, managed, and lived in.

What does the new law mean for tenants?

  • Under the new law, tenants and licencees will become 'contract-holders'. Tenancy agreements will be replaced with 'occupation contracts'. This will make renting easier and provide greater security.

  • Receiving a written contract setting out your rights and responsibilities.

  • An increase in the ‘no fault’ notice period from two to six months.

  • Greater protection from eviction.

  • Improved succession rights, these set out who has a right to continue to live in a dwelling, for example after the current tenant dies.

  • More flexible arrangements for joint contract-holders, making it easier to add or remove others to an occupation contract.

What does the new law mean for landlords?

  • A simpler system, with two types of contract: ‘Secure’ for the social rented sector and ‘Standard’ for the private rented sector.

  • Ensuring homes are fit for human habitation (FFHH). This will include, electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted.

Abandoned properties can be repossesed without needing a court order.

Climate Change Minister Julie James believes the act will make renting in Wales "simpler and more transparent".