Renting Homes Wales act implementation to be further delayed
WELSH Government legislation intended to strengthen the rights of those who rents their homes is being delayed at the request of landlords.
The Renting Homes Act, first passed in 2016, will make changes to the duties required of landlords in Wales, increasing eviction notice periods and introducing some minimum housing standards.
It was intended that from July 15 all landlords would have to give tenants at least six months’ notice when serving a Section 21 eviction order, instead of two.
Often called a “no fault” eviction notice, a Section 21 orders the renter to vacate a home solely because the landlord wants to repossess it – if, for example, they want to sell the property, or rent to a family member instead.
After the government confirmed in January the act woud come into force from July there were also concerns it could lead to a rush of “no fault” evictions.
However, climate change minister Julie James, who is responsible for housing, today issued a statement to say implementation of the act will be delayed a further five months and won’t now come into force until December 1.
The Labour minister said: “I have over recent months received representations from landlords, and particularly social landlords, who have requested that implementation of the Act be delayed.”
Among the reasons given by the minister were the impact of the Covid pandemic and accommodating refugees from Ukraine though no explanation was offered as to why that has forced a delay in protecting tenants from no fault evictions.
The statement said: “In the light of the unprecedented pressures they (landlords) face, including Covid recovery and supporting those who are fleeing the war in Ukraine, I have decided to postpone implementation of the Act until 1st December 2022. This will allow more time for landlords to complete the necessary preparations ahead of implementation.”
She described the changes as “perhaps once in a generation” and that she wanted to give landlords “adequate time to make the necessary preparations to comply with the requirements of the act”.
James claimed she “shared the frustration” of “some of our partners, especially those who are anxious to see the enhanced protections for tenants the act will deliver”.
She said she recognised preparing new contracts, which will replace tenancy agreements, and meeting new occupancy standards is a major undertaking “particularly for those landlords responsible for a large number of properties and tenants.”
Her statement added: “I also accept that landlords from both private and public sectors, as well as letting agents and other stakeholders, would benefit from additional time to familiarise themselves with the various pieces of subordinate legislation – the final tranche of which are due to be made in July – before commencement.”
The government says further guidance and information and tenants is available at its Renting Homes Wales internet page which can be found by clicking here.