The Bill applies to an assured tenancy (including an assured shorthold tenancy) under the Housing Act 1988. Tenancies of this type will be converted into standard occupation contracts by the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 and will apply to housing in Wales only. The new standard contracts will set out the responsibilities of both landlord and contract holder, along with their obligations to one another.
In July 2019, the Welsh Government consulted on removing the equivalent of a section 21 Notice for fixed term tenancies. This amendment, if introduced, would increase the minimum notice a landlord must give tenants from two months to six, allowing the tenant more time to get ready to leave the property, and a notice could not be served within 6 months of the commencement of the tenancy meaning all tenancies granted will in effect be for 12 months.
Martine Harris MRICS FARLA, Head of Lettings at Moginie James has commented on this legislation change: “I have spoken to a great many landlords recently about the Welsh Assembly Government proposals to increase the notice period that a landlord must give to a tenant when seeking to end a contract under section 173 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. The proposals are designed to provide additional security of tenure for tenants while also ensuring that landlords are able to regain their property in a predictable and timely manner when they have a legitimate need to do so.
“There are definitely benefits in allowing a tenant a longer time period in which to find alternative accommodation, especially if they have been good tenants - as most landlords want longer term security of tenure.”
However, some landlords have commented that if they ever found themselves in a situation whereby they needed their property back in a hurry, the proposed new time period could cause them an issue. This could be because they want to bring a tenancy to an end because of rent arrears, or because a tenant is potentially causing damage to their property. “In these cases of breach of contract, the landlord will still be able to serve an accelerated possession notice of one month,” comments Martine.
“One very important point to bear in mind,” she adds, “is that in the vast majority of cases, it is tenants themselves who give notice to their landlord. So if the proposals were implemented, and a longer notice period had to be given, in practice, it would probably only impact around 30% of current tenancies.”
To find out more about the proposed changes and how they may affect you as a landlord, speak to the experts at Moginie James. Pop into your nearest branch or give them a call on 02920001823.