Ambitious new law that ‘transforms the rented sector in Wales’ comes into force

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The biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades has today (Thursday, December 1) come into force, bringing greater transparency and consistency to renting a home.

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 from today 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.”