Landlords in Wales face an extension to the minimum notice period for seeking possession where there has been no breach of contract.
A new consultation in underway on pushing the notice period up from two months to six.
“The Act provides a new, streamlined and reformed basis for residential letting in Wales, providing significant benefits for anyone who rents their home. However, we can do more to address the concerns many people have around ‘no fault evictions’.
“These proposals would give tenants more peace of mind about their contracts, but also recognise that there are legitimate reasons why a landlord may need possession of their property; it’s important that we get this balance right,” said Welsh housing minister Julie James.
The proposed changes would mean amending the Renting Homes Act before it comes into force.
Proposals under consultation for contracts with no end date are:
- To extend the minimum notice period when seeking possession without a breach of contract from two months to six months
- To restrict a landlord from serving a notice to seek possession without a breach of contract within the first six months of a contract
- To place a six-month restriction on issuing such a notice following the expiry of a previous notice
Other proposals include:
- Restrictions to the ability to regain possession on landlords who the courts have found to have attempted to carry out a retaliatory eviction; and
- Restrictions on issuing possession notices to landlords in breach of other laws related to housing, such as not having a valid Energy Performance Certificate or gas safety certificate.
“The Act already recognises there will be occasions when someone hasn’t been paying their rent, or breaches their contract in other ways.
“Our proposals do not change this, but mean a landlord will need to use the most appropriate route when seeking to take possession, rather than relying on a ‘no fault’ notice,” said James.
“Thanks to the Renting Homes Act, it will also be easier for a landlord to repossess an abandoned property without a court order – this will enable these empty properties to be re-let as quickly as possible.
“Good quality renting is a vital part of addressing the housing challenges we face in Wales, I’m optimistic that we can overcome the final barriers to implementing the Renting Homes Act and that tenants will feel all the benefits of the changes before the end of this Assembly term,” she said.
Last week the Welsh Government announced a proposal that will give all private tenants in Wales a minimum of one year’s protection from a no-fault eviction.
The Welsh Government’s announcement follows the pledge in April by the First Minister to end no-fault evictions during this Assembly term.
While the proposal would not end no-fault evictions completely, it will make it much less likely that landlords would use them.
Instead many landlords would have to use fault-based grounds and provide evidence to the court to show why the eviction is necessary.
Speaking today (July 11) at the Shelter Cymru People and Homes conference James said of the campaign: “This is the art of the possible”.
Shelter Cymru has been campaigning on this issue for several years, with nearly 2,000 people signing a related petition.
Increasing the notice period for a no-fault eviction is a big step in the right direction for the half a million people who privately rent their homes in Wales.
“It’s not as strong as ending no-fault evictions completely, and we have shared our disappointment with the Government.
“We do understand though that there are some practical difficulties in amending the Welsh tenancy legislation during this Assembly term,” said Jennie Bibbings, Campaigns Manager, Shelter Cymru.
“We will still be campaigning for an eventual end to no-fault evictions.
“However, in the meantime this proposal will have many positive effects, because the no-fault route will no longer be a quick fix for landlords,” she said.