Renting is changing in Wales on July 15th: Find out more here

Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 : Renting is changing

On the 15 July 2022, the rules about how you rent your home will change as the Welsh Government brings in the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

The new rules will affect both private and social tenants, and although might seem complicated at first, they should make being a tenant in Wales more simple and straightforward. The rules should also help prevent some of the problems that tenants can currently face.

We will be producing lots of helpful information about the new rules over the next few months, but, in the meantime, you can find out about some of the main changes below.

If you under 25, check out our young person’s guide to the new rules.

What changes are going to happen?

Changes to tenancy types

Once the new rules come in to force, tenants will be known as ‘contract holders’.

Most tenancies and licences, including assured shorthold, assured and secure tenancies, will be replaced with either:

  • a secure occupation contract, or
  • a standard occupation contract.

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

There will be some different occupation contracts for specific types of housing, such as supported housing, and introductory (sometimes known as ‘probationary’) contracts.

If you already have a tenancy or licence, it will automatically ‘convert’ to the relevant occupation contract on the date that the new rules come in (currently the 15 July 2022).

Some situations, including regulated Rent Act tenancies, direct access hostels or some accommodation provided under a temporary homelessness duty, will not be affected.

Changes to landlord types

Landlords will be grouped into one of 2 groups:

  • community landlords (council and housing associations)
  • private landlords (any landlord who is not a community landlord).

Community landlords will generally provide secure occupation contracts.

Private landlords will generally provide standard occupation contracts.

Terms of occupation contracts

Standard terms will be introduced which must be included in every occupation contract.

Landlords will have to issue contract holders with a written statement within 14 days of moving in, clearly setting out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and the contract holder.

Any landlord who fails to provide a written statement in the required time, or provides an incomplete or incorrect statement, can face penalties.

Ending occupation contracts

The rules about how a landlord can end an occupation contract will change. Some of the main changes include:

  • the notice period that a landlord will have to give a contract holder under ‘no fault’ grounds (currently commonly known as a ‘section 21 notice‘) will be 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, deposit protection rules and health & safety provisions
  • 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 will have to be fit for human habitation. The fitness test will be based on the existing Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

In addition, landlords will continue to have to 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. These obligations will be in all occupation contracts.

A landlord 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 move out without the contract ending for the remaining joint contract holders.

New joint contract holders will be able to 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?

The Welsh Government have announced that these changes will be introduced on 15 July 2022.

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.

Phone an adviser

If you have an urgent housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline

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If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
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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.

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This page was last updated on: May 3, 2022

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.