Home » New law that ‘transforms Wales’ rental sector now in force
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New law that ‘transforms Wales’ rental sector now in force

The biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades has now come into force.

Protecting the interests of both landlords and tenants, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 improves how homes in Wales are rented, managed and lived in.

It replaces various, complex pieces of existing legislation and case law and introduces one clear legal framework, providing contract-holders in Wales with greater security than in any other part of the UK.

Some of the main changes introduced include:

  • All landlords being required to provide a written copy of the occupation contract to the tenant (this sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties).
  • ‘No-fault’ notice periods increasing from two months to six months for new tenants, and for existing tenants from Thursday, June 1. 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.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “This is a momentous moment as we completely transform the rented sector in Wales.

“A decent, safe and secure home is fundamental to people’s wellbeing. These changes will provide tenants with greater protection from eviction and ensure their home is safe to live in.

“At the same time, landlords will benefit from greater clarity in the law and the ability to repossess abandoned properties more quickly.

“As we build a stronger, greener and more prosperous Wales, I would like to thank all those who have joined us on this journey to making renting simpler and fairer.

The details… 

You’ll receive a new contract from your landlord

Importantly, tenants will now be known as ‘contract holders’ and your tenancy will be called an ‘occupation contract’. Instead of having a tenancy agreement, you’ll have a ‘written statement’.

Most tenants and licensees will automatically change over to the relevant contract on the 1 December. Your landlord has to give you the written statement before 1 June 2023.

If you start renting a home on or after 1 December, your landlord has to give you the written statement within 14 days of you moving into your home. You might be able to claim money from your landlord if they don’t give you the written statement in time.

What about repairs and the condition of the home?

Your landlord will have to make sure your home is safe to live in and fit for human habitation. This includes things like electrical safety testing and making sure smoke alarms work— when these need to be checked depends on when you moved in.

Your landlord will also be responsible for fitting carbon monoxide detectors in rooms with gas appliances. They must continue to keep the structure and exterior of the property in repair and the water, gas or electricity in proper working order.

Check the new rules about eviction notices

If you move into your home on or after 1 December 2023 your landlord won’t be able to give you a ‘no fault’ eviction notice if they didn’t give you the written statement when they should have. Your landlord must give you at least 6 months’ notice to end the contract, and ‘no fault’ notices can’t be issued until 6 months after you move in.

From June 2023 if you lived in your home before 1 December 2022 and your landlord wants to give you a ‘no fault’ eviction notice, they must give you at least 6 months’ notice to end the contract.

You’ll also have more protection if your landlord tries to evict you because you asked for repairs. This is called protection against ‘retaliatory eviction’.

Adding or removing people from a joint contract

Contract holders can be added or removed from occupation contracts without the need to end one contract and start another. You’ll need your landlord’s permission to make any changes to who’s on the contract.

If you have a joint contract and you want to move out but the other person wants to stay, you’ll be able to ‘withdraw’ from your contract. This means you won’t have to end your contract. The other person can stay on their own or someone else can take your place. If you want someone to move in, you’ll be able to add them to your contract with your landlord’s permission — you won’t need to start a new one.

Find out more about the changes

You can find more detail about how renting is changing on the Welsh government website.

If you have any issues with your contract or home, Citizens Advice can help. Take a look at their online advice or you can contact them..