Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016
The long-awaited Rent Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will come into force on the 1st December 2022. This is
"the biggest change to the housing law in Wales for decades" the welsh government announced. It
will change the way all landlords in Wales rent their properties. Its aim is to simplify the process of
renting a home and to improve how we rent, manage, and live in rented homes in Wales.
- Tenants and licensees will now become 'Contract-holders' and Tenancy Agreements will be replaced with 'Occupation Contracts'.
- There are four types of terms that can feature in occupation contracts:
- Key matters: The names of the parties and address of the property. These must be inserted in every contract.
- Fundamental Terms: Only you plus one other, from the same household can attend the viewing.
- Supplementary Terms: When attending the viewing please wear a mask to cover your face.
- Additional Terms: Please wait outside until we have carried out our pre-viewing safety work.
- Landlords will be required to issue a 'written statement' of the occupation contract to all contract-holders (this will replace your current tenancy or licence agreement). The written statement must contain all the terms of the contract. For new rentals after the implementation date, the written statement must be issued within 14 days of occupation under the contract. Existing tenancy agreements will 'convert' to the relevant occupation contract on the day of implementation, and landlords have a maximum of six months to issue a written statement of the converted occupation contract to their contract-holders.
- Increased Security: For an issued 'no fault' notice (Section 173) the minimum notice period given must be 6 months. Please note the Section 173 notice cannot be served during a fixed term standard contract.
- All properties must be safe: All properties must be fit for human habitation (FFHH). This includes having a valid Electrical Safety Certificate, a mains-wired interlinked smoke alarm system, and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance (including gas boilers)
- Inspection and testing of electrical installation: Should be inspected and tested regularly to ensure it is safe for continued use. This test is known as 'periodic inspection and testing' (PIT). PIT is carried out on wiring and fixed electrical equipment to check that they are safe, the test will:
Once the PIT has been completed you will be issued with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). An EICR (or an Electrical Installation Certificate) covering the whole of a newly built dwelling satisfies the definition of an 'electrical condition report' required under Regulation 6 of the FFHH regulations. A landlord is required to have the electrical installation of the dwelling tested every five years unless the requirements of the previous EICR indicate a shorter testing interval is required.
- reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded
- find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
- identify any defective electrical work
- highlight any lack of earthing or bonding
- Smoke Detectors: The FFHH Regulations require a smoke alarm, in proper working order, to be present on every storey of a dwelling Landlords must ensure each of these smoke alarms is in proper working order, connected to the electrical supply and inter-linked with all other smoke alarms connected to the electrical supply. To ensure that this requirement is met, the opportunity to test smoke alarms should be sought e.g. whilst carrying out a necessary repair or electrical testing in the dwelling. A landlord must note the manufacturer's recommended life span of a fire alarm, which will depend on the alarm. An alarm which has passed its expiry date may not be fully operational and incapable of detecting smoke.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector: The FFHH Regulations require a landlord to ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is present in any room which has a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance installed. Carbon monoxide alarms are essential in providing perhaps the only warning an occupier will have of the presence of carbon monoxide.
- Fitness of Homes for Human Habitation (FFHH). New minimum housing standards, which are covered by the 29 points in the linked article.
- Anti-Social behaviour: If the contract-holder breaches this term of the contract, the landlord is able to serve a possession notice and commence court proceedings on the same day. The contract-holder can also be held responsible for the behaviour of anyone else who lives in or visits the dwelling.
- Rent arrears: If a contract-holder stops paying rent, the landlord is able to serve a possession notice on the basis that they have breached their contract (which has a one-month notice period). Or, if they are in serious rent arrears (two months or more non-payment) a landlord may serve a notice on that ground, which has a 14 day notice period.
- Joint contracts: A joint contract-holder will be able to leave a contract without ending the contract entirely. New joint contract-holders can be added without having to end the current contract and start another one.
- Succession: Enables both a 'priority' and 'reserve' successor to succeed to the occupation contract. This allows two successions to the contract to take place, for example a spouse followed by another family member. In addition, a new succession right for carers is created.
- Abandonment: Landlords are able to repossess an abandoned property without needing a court order, after serving a four week warning notice and carrying out investigations to satisfy yourself the property is abandoned.
For new contracts which begin on or after the 1st December 2022 landlords will need to ensure properties they let in Wales comply with these requirements. For tenancies which existed before 1 December 2022 landlords will have 12 months from this date to have a valid Electrical Inspection Safety Certificate and a mains-wired interlinked smoke alarm system. They will have 6 months from 1st December 2022 to issue a Written Statement to their existing tenancies.
ALL properties must have a CO Detector in any room with a gas/fuel appliance by the 1st December 2022.