After 5 years of waiting, a date has finally been confirmed for the new Housing Act to come into force – Spring 2022.
As part of the Act, landlords will need to give 6 months’ notice as standard to regain possession of their properties, whether to sell or otherwise. On top of that, notices still can’t be served to expire within the first 6 months of the tenancy.
This means that all tenancies are automatically 12 months in length – unless the tenants decide to leave earlier voluntarily. Landlords will still be able to evict a tenant if there has been a breach of the tenancy agreement.
The Act will also introduce new “simplified” contracts to replace standard assured shorthold tenancy (AST) agreements. It will be a legal requirement for all contracts to be in writing, otherwise a landlord will not be able to seek possession.
Electrical Certificates & HHSRS
Electrical safety certificates will also become a legal requirement for all rental properties in Wales. Landlords are encouraged to have the certificates conducted in a timely manner before the legislation is in force. Certificates must be satisfactory to be valid.
We are urging landlords to start putting aside some rental income each month to go towards any unexpected improvements that may be required to make the electrical certificate satisfactory.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating system (HHSRS) is already in operation in Wales via the Housing Act 2004. The aim of HHSRS is to ensure residential premises are safe, healthy environments for occupants or visitors. From Spring 2022, the Welsh HHSRS will be stepping up a gear and, like in England, tenants will have the right to take legal action against landlords should the property fail on any one of the 29 potential hazards.
We’d highly recommend that landlords start reviewing their properties now to highlight any areas of concern so a plan can be made for rectification.
You can find out more about HHSRS by clicking here.
Why is the Welsh Government doing this?
Welsh Government housing and local government minister Julie James says the end result will be fairer, simpler and more efficient.
Julie James adds: “Thanks to our efforts, tenants will have greater peace of mind when renting. Everyone has the right to feel secure in their own home and to be able to plan for the future. Clearer and easier to understand contracts will reduce disputes and legal costs and the new regime will provide a better way for landlords to deal with abandoned properties.”
At McCartan Lettings, we have been expecting the new Housing Act for over 5 years now, so this hasn’t come as a great surprise. Our advice is that we have to work within the parameters of the law, so preparing now is key.
We have been active in keeping up to date with the regulations as and when there have been updates. Processes are already in place to deal with most of the changes the Act will bring, to make sure our landlords will be compliant.
Landlords need to be aware there are a raft of new changes coming that, once introduced, will have significant changes to the way the Private Rented Sector operates in Wales.
If landlords are unsure of the 170+ pieces of legislation currently in place, now is the time to start considering professional management.