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Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016

In 2016 the Welsh Government passed The Renting Homes (Wales) Act with the aim of making it simpler and easier to rent a home in Wales.

The Act introduces lots of changes to tenancy laws and, once implemented, the changes will apply to virtually all rented properties in Wales.

The provisions of the Act are not yet in force but it is anticipated that they will be introduced during spring 2022.

What changes are going to happen?

Once the Act is implemented, there will be lots of changes to tenancy laws in Wales, including :

Changes to tenancy contracts

    • Many current tenancies and licences will be replaced with 2 kinds of ‘occupation contract’:
      (1) a ‘secure contract’
      (2) a ‘standard contract’.

      The type of occupation contract will depend on whether the property is owned by a private landlord or a council or housing association.

    • Landlords will be grouped into one of 2 groups:
      (1) community landlords (council and housing associations)
      (2) private landlords (any landlord in Wales who is not a community landlord).
    • There will be some variations of occupation contract for specific types of housing, such as supported housing.
    • Tenants will be known as ‘contract holders’.

Terms of occupation contracts

    • Standard terms will be introduced which must be included in every occupation contract.
    • Landlords must issue contract holders with a written statement, clearly setting out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and the contract holder.

Ending occupation contracts

    • The minimum notice period that a landlord has to give a contract holder under ‘no fault’ grounds (currently commonly known as a ‘section 21 notice‘) will be extended from 2 months to 6 months.
    • A landlord will not be able to give such a notice until 6 months after the contract starts.
    • A landlord will not be able to give such a notice unless they have complied with certain obligations, including registration, licensing and deposit protection rules.
    • Landlord break clauses will only be able to be incorporated into an occupation contract if the contract has a fixed term of 2 years or more. A landlord will not be able to exercise a break clause within the first 18 months of occupation.

Repairs and conditions of rented properties

    • All rented properties must be fit for human habitation at the start of the contract and throughout the time the contract is operational. The fitness test is likely to be based on the existing Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
    • Landlords must also keep the structure and exterior of the property in repair and keep installations for the supply of water, gas or electricity, for sanitation, for space heating, and hot water in repair and proper working order.
    • Landlords will not be able to evict a contract holder just because they have complained about the condition of the property (commonly known as a ‘retaliatory eviction’). If a landlord applies to court for a possession order but it is refused on the grounds that it was a retaliatory eviction, the landlord cannot give a further ‘no fault’ notice until 6 months later.

Joint contracts

    • A joint contract holder will be able to leave a contract without ending it in its entirety.
    • New joint contract holders can be added without having to end the current contract.

Succession rights

    • It will be easier for certain groups of people, including some carers, to take over a person’s occupation contract on their death (‘succession’).

Abandonment

    • There will be a new procedure for landlords to obtain possession of a property that has been abandoned.

When are these changes going to happen?

These changes have not yet happened but it is currently expected that they will be introduced in Spring 2022.

These pages will be updated as changes are brought in.

Are there any other changes?

The Welsh Government have already changed the law on letting fees, banning many fees charged by landlords or agents to prospective or current tenants. To find out what you can and cannot now be charged, click here.

It is also likely that new laws will be introduced about the landlord’s responsibilities surrounding electrical safety and the provision of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Our advice pages and resources are updated as changes are introduced.

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08000 495 495

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We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: March 8, 2021

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

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