Renting Homes Wales Act
What does this mean for Landlords in Wales?
At the time of writing, less than 2 months remain for existing Welsh Landlords to comply with changes.
What do Welsh Landlords need to know?
On December 1st, 2022, the Renting Home Act 2016 (Wales) changed the way all landlords in Wales rent their properties- making changes and improvements to how they rent, manage, and live.
Instead of using tenancy agreements when they let their properties, landlords must now use a Standard Occupation Contract. Landlords must provide an accurate written statement of this otherwise they will face penalties.
So… Who is affected by the Renting Homes Wales Act Changes?
All social and private tenants will see some changes. This will include how their contracts are provided, how their homes are maintained and how they communicate with their landlords. All social and private landlords will need to comply with the new law and make the necessary updates to their properties and paperwork.
Tenants and licensees are now known as contract-holders and tenancy agreements have been replaced with ‘occupation contracts.’
For landlords, this provides a simpler system with two variations of contracts: Secure and Standard.
Assured/Secure Tenancies commonly used by community landlords will become Secure Contracts.
ASTs (Assured Shorthold Tenancies) and other fixed-term contracts used by private landlords will become Standard Contracts.
A secure contract is always periodic. This means that it continues from one rental period to the next without an end date. People who rent their homes from a community landlord will most likely receive a Secure contract but may also get a standard contract. Some of these may be like those offered by a private landlord although there are other types of standard contracts which may be provided such as an introductory standard contract.
Existing tenancy agreements converted on 1 December 2022, and landlords will have until June 1st 2023 to issue a written statement to the Contract Holder setting out the terms of the Occupation Contract. For new contracts, this must be completed within 14 days of the occupation date.
What are Occupation Contracts?
An Occupation contract is the agreement between the tenant or licensee (contract-holder) and their landlord. These contracts can either be a fixed-term standard contract or a periodic standard contract. A fixed-term contract requires both the contract holder and the landlord to commit to a minimum term. Once it comes to the end of the contract, the landlord and the contract-holder may agree to a new fixed term and the contract-holder will be given a further fixed-term contract.
If the contract holder remains in occupation a periodic standard contract is automatically created, and this will continue until either the contract holder or the landlord brings it to the end.
There are no requirements for a fixed-term contract. A periodic standard contract rolls over from one rental month period to the next.
The occupational contract will be set out in a written statement which replaces the tenancy or license agreement. Included in the terms of the contract are- key matters, supplementary terms, and additional terms.
Key matters are the address of the dwelling, the occupation date, the amount of rent and the rental period- whether it’s a fixed or a periodic contract.
Supplementary terms are clauses that have been set out by legislation. These clauses can be removed or changed to meet the needs of the landlord if both parties come to an agreement.
Additional terms are clauses that are not defined by legislation and have been inserted by the landlord.
Model Occupation Contracts:
The Welsh Government has released a model occupational contract which includes model statements and forms for landlords who would like to have a guide on how they should fill it in and what to include. This guide can be found here.
There are a few consequences for committing offences under the Act. These include:
- Fixed Penalty Notices (of either £150/£250)
- Rent Repayment Orders
- Rent Stopping Orders
- Criminal Prosecutions and Fines
14 days – Written statements must be given within 14 days of the occupation date for new contracts that started on or after 1st December 2022.
1st of June 2023 – Written statements for converted contracts need to be issued.
There are different deadlines depending on whether it is a new or converted contract.
14 days – For new contracts, Contract-holders must be provided with a written statement of occupation contract within 14 days of the occupation date.
31st of May 2023 – This is the deadline for converted contracts already agreed upon by 1st December 2022. However, the government advise that this is best to do it sooner.
Contract holders must be given notice of the information about the landlord- Form RHW2.
14 days – For new contracts, this must be completed within 14 days of the occupation date.
31st of May 2023 – This is the deadline for converted contracts, however, it would be beneficial to issue this information sooner.
Contract holders must be provided with a copy of a valid EPC.
Beginning of the contract. – This is the requirement for new contracts and when it should be provided.
Issued at the start of the conversion. – This is the requirement for converted contracts and when they should be provided. The EPC doesn’t require re-issuing due to conversion.
There are requirements for the protection of the deposit.
Within 30 days of the deposit being paid by the contract holder – For new contracts, this is the deadline.
Landlords should’ve already complied.- For converted contracts, this is already an existing legal duty. It doesn’t need to be re-protected.
There are requirements regarding the Fitness for Human Habitation (FFHH).
Occupation date – For new contracts, the requirements must be met from the occupation date. This does also include carbon monoxide alarms where needed.
Date of Conversion – For converted contracts, these requirements should be met from the date of conversion.
30th of November 2023 – This is how long landlords have to install mains-wired smoke alarms and ensure that an ECR is provided.
Contract Holders must be provided with a valid copy of the Electrical Condition Report (ECR).
Within 14 days – For new contracts, this must be completed within 14 days of the occupation date.
For converted contracts, this must be completed within 14 days of the 30th of November 2023.
Being a landlord is a busy and sometimes stressful business, especially when trying to keep up with legislation. We can help you save time and worry by completing these new contracts for you.
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