Big changes are coming, and we want to ensure you are prepared!
You may be aware that the Welsh Government are implementing a huge reform of the social and private rental sector in Wales. These changes bring in a complete overhaul of the current legislation, and mean that landlords that have rental properties in Wales will have to ensure their rental properties are compliant, but don’t worry as we are here to help!
The new legislation will affect almost every aspect of private rented properties, and because of this it is important to be aware of when the changes are happening, and what it means for properties with existing tenancies, and new tenancies going forward.
So, when will the changes come in?
The changes are coming into force from 15th July 2022 and will have immediate effect for any new tenancies on or after this date. This means that if your property is due to be vacant on or after this date, you will have to ensure that you are fully compliant with the new legislation in order to be able to let your property out again.
What are the main changes that we need to be aware of?
It is important to remember that this legislation is new to everyone, so whilst we can outline what we believe to be the main points of the legislation, this certainly is not the extent of what we need to know and further guidance and clarification is still required by the Welsh Government. With that being said, here are some of the headline changes:
- Under the new law, tenants and licensees will become 'contract-holders'. Tenancy agreements will be replaced with 'occupation contracts'.
- The landlord must provide Contract Holder with a 'Written Statement of Terms' outlining the terms of the Occupation Contract.
- Interlinked hardwired smoke alarms now mandatory, minimum of one on each floor, carbon monoxide detectors now mandatory in any room which contains a gas appliance, an oil-fired combustion appliance or a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
- Notice period to be no less than six months as a minimum
- Break clauses no longer allowed in contracts that are less than two years
- Existing tenancies will automatically convert to an Occupation Contract, landlord has six months to issue 'written statement of terms' to tenant.
- Mandatory Periodic Inspection and Testing (PIT) of the electrical installation of the property.
What does this mean for converted and new occupation contracts?
- As mentioned, there is a 6 month grace period for landlords to provide Contract Holders with a written statement of terms.
- Landlords have a 12 month grace period to have interlinked hardwired smoke alarms fitted.
- Landlords have a 12 month grace period to have a PIT and be issued with an Electrical Installation Condition Report.
- Carbon Monoxide alarms are mandatory.
- Any new Occupation Contract commencing on or after the 15th July 2022 must comply with all the new regulations. No grace period is available.
What can you do to get ahead of the changes?
Even though these changes are law in Wales from 15th July 2022, there is nothing stopping you from preparing your rental property beforehand, the more you do now is less you have to do later! Arranging the installation of the wired interlinked smoke detectors would be a good place to start, as well as ensuring that there are carbon monoxide detectors present where necessary.
It is also wise to ensure that all of your safety certificates are in place. This is because all of these must be present and correct along with your Rent Smart Wales license in order to be able to serve a notice to your tenant should you wish, so in order to gain possession of the property, it is vital that your paperwork is in order.
It may also be wise to perform a risk assessment of your property, and ensure that it is to a good standard of reasonable repair. Along with this legislation, Section 91 stipulates that it is the landlord’s obligation to keep the property in repair and that it is fit for human habitation (FFHH). There is a list of 29 matters and circumstances which must be considered to determine if a property is fit for human habitation. Performing a risk assessment using FFHH as a criteria will ensure that you aren’t caught cold on any aspect of your property when the new legislation arrives.
As stated, everyone is still learning about this legislation and guidance is expected from the Welsh Government weekly and in the run up to the go live date. We are here to help, for our Fully Managed landlords, we will ensure all the contracts and maintenance are in place ready for the new legislation. For landlords using our Rent collection service, we will also help with the contracts. For any Let Only or DIY landlords we can also help with contracts, additional fees will apply, or you may be interested in considering our Managed or Rent Collection services. Please call your local branch for further advice.