In yet another last-minute change of plan, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 has been postponed again, until 1st December 2022.
The statement from Julie James, which came completely out of the blue late on Monday evening, explains the reasons:
“In January I announced my intention to bring into force the provisions of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 on 15 July 2022.
However, I have over recent months received representations from landlords, and particularly social landlords, who have requested that implementation of the Act be delayed. As such, and in the light of the unprecedented pressures they face, including Covid recovery and supporting those who are fleeing the war in Ukraine, I have decided to postpone implementation of the Act until 1st December 2022. This will allow more time for landlords to complete the necessary preparations ahead of implementation.
Wholesale reform of the type that the Renting Homes (Wales) Act is bringing about happens only very rarely – perhaps once in a generation. I want to do all I can to ensure landlords have adequate time to make the necessary preparations to comply with the requirements of the Act.
I appreciate that this delay, relatively short though it is, will be a source of frustration to some of our partners, especially those who are anxious to see the enhanced protections for tenants the Act will deliver.
I share those frustrations, but I recognise that preparing new occupation contracts and ensuring that properties meet the fitness standards set out in the legislation are major undertakings, particularly for those landlords responsible for a large number of properties and tenants. I also accept that landlords from both private and public sectors, as well as letting agents and other stakeholders, would benefit from additional time to familiarise themselves with the various pieces of subordinate legislation – the final tranche of which are due to be made in July – before commencement.
I fully acknowledge the disruption that moving from the old familiar system to a brand new legislative framework is causing for landlords across Wales, particularly in a period where we are still having to deal with the aftershocks of the pandemic and where we are doing all we can to welcome to Wales people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
I am, though, absolutely certain that that this reform will bring huge long-term benefits to landlords and to those renting their homes.”
What it means for Landlords in Wales
Many landlords have already expressed their frustration at the Welsh Government, pulling the rug from under them yet again, with just 46 days to go before the Renting Homes Act was due to come in.
Landlords and Letting Agents in Wales have spent the last 6 months diligently reading the legislation and planning how to best action the requirements. Many have already gone on to make the changes, while some are still confused about what the new legislation means for their tenancies.
With an extra 4 and a half months, the Government is giving Welsh Landlords the opportunity to really get to grips with the new changes and get their properties compliant in time.
If this means they will take a harsher view for non-compliance is another matter…
The key points to make sure you have ready for the 1st December are:
- Carbon Monoxide detectors are required in each room there is an appliance, (eg. Boiler, wood burner, gas hob). These are not required to be mains connected
- Mains connected and interlinked smoke detectors – 6 months grace on existing tenancies
- Satisfactory EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) – 6 months grace on existing tenancies.