If you haven’t yet heard of the enticingly named Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill, then you can probably be forgiven, especially in light of everything currently happening. However, for the roughly 30% of homes in Wales which are rented and more importantly – the people living in them, this new act of law represents some important new changes which Shelter Cymru have campaigned hard for over the past few years.
The new changes which are likely to come into effect in spring 2022, sees better protections for tenants in a range of areas. There are safeguards against retaliatory evictions, changes to areas like joint tenancy arrangements and succession rights, but perhaps the headline change is the lengthening of the notice period for no fault evictions. This is up from two months to six months and can only be served after the first six months of any contract, effectively giving tenants 12 months of stability. For anyone keen to learn more, we’ve done a helpful guide to the changes here.
In a housing market where we expect over 50% of adults under the age of 40 to be living in rented accommodation by 2025, it is vital that these significant numbers of renters are living in good quality, affordable homes which give them security of tenure and a fair deal for their money. This new law goes a long way to offering greater security for tenants across Wales. Specifically addressing the panic-inducing two month notice period is a significant win for tenants in Wales. In Shelter Cymru’s response to the initial consultation on extending notice period, we amplified the voices of landlords and tenants from across Wales who agreed that an extension was needed. We heard from people who were evicted as their children were taking exams and others who were receiving treatment for severe illnesses and the impact that this had on their health, wellbeing and education.
While the changes made have been desperately needed for some time now and are incredibly welcome, we at Shelter Cymru believe that we can and should be going further still to protect tenants. When we think about the current situation in particular, with so much change and disruption, it has never been more important for people to have a secure place to live as a minimum. So it is important for us all to recognise and celebrate this important step in the right direction, but the work isn’t yet done.