New Renting Homes (Amendment): (Wales) Bill?– an easy summary 

New Renting Homes (Amendment): (Wales) Bill?– an easy summary 


On the 10th February the Minister for Housing and Local Government introduced the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill. This was introduced following the consultation on ‘Increasing the Minimum Notice Period’ which TPAS Cymru submitted evidence, based on tenant feedback.

The Bill will make amendments to the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 which will be implemented before the end of this Assembly (May 2021) which is extremely tight based on the time scale for the assembly to scrutinise this Bill as well as consult with the sector on the model contracts we are yet to see.

The purpose of Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is to replace various complex pieces of legislation with one clear framework. This will in turn offer transparency to tenants and simplify the letting process. The types of tenancies people have, i.e. secure tenancies, demoted tenancies, introductory tenancies, assured shorthold tenancies will be re-named ‘Occupation Contracts’ and there will be two types. Secure contracts which are modelled on current secure tenancies in social housing and standard contracts which are modelled on assured shorthold tenancies, mainly used in the private rental sector.

The changes to the Act with the introduction of the Bill

The changes will increase security of occupation for those on standard contracts, so mainly those tenants who are living who are in the Private Rental Sector. It will affect social housing tenants who are on a starter tenancy, demoted tenancy or are in supported housing.

The Bill proposes that:

  • The minimum notice period for tenants to vacate their property under a section 173 notice (allows a landlord to seek possession without a breech of contract such as rent arrears or Anti-Social Behaviour) goes from 2 months to 6 months.
  • The 2016 Act proposed that you were not able to issue a section 173 notice until a tenant had been living in the property for at least four months. This Bill proposes that this be extended to 6 months. This would give a new tenant at least 12 months of living in their home.
  • There are exemptions to the 6-month minimum notice period. In the cases of prohibited conduct (ASB), a secure contract can be demoted to a prohibited standard contract which can be terminated on 2 months’ notice.
  • Currently, a notice can be issued within a fixed term to end the contract at the end of that term. A fixed term standard contract will now automatically fall into a periodic standard contract and a landlord would have to issue a section 173 to end the contact.

TPAS Cymru thoughts

  • We welcome the extension of the 2 months to 6 months under a S.173 notice. This will do as the policy intended to do and offer security of tenure. Tenants told us that 2 months was not enough time to find suitable accommodation for families etc.
  • Due to lots of positive changes in the social housing sector, Welsh Government are confident that this will lead to a reduction in the demand for hearings, putting less pressure on the court systems which was one of the main concerns in the sector. The reason landlords have used a S.21 notice (now S.173) is because S.8 (another route to possession) takes too long. In Scotland they amended S.8 when making similar policy changes.
  • Due to disagreements in the sector and the unknown outcomes of these changes, there needs to be wider discussions about the Welsh tribunal system and reforming the courts.
  • One of the contentious points in the housing sector is the impact on the annual student market. This has traditionally worked on fixed term contracts which end at the expiry of the 12 months. With the proposed changes landlords’ associations believe that there will be a significant negative impact on the market for landlords and students alike in terms of reduced availability for student accommodation.
  • There is concern that there will be unintended consequences in the case of buy to let appetite in Wales. Within the Bill there is nothing that enables landlords to get their property back in a short period of time if they need it. As a sector, we are heavily dependent on private rental accommodation due to there not being enough social housing in Wales. WG are piloting schemes now to find ways around this.
  • The housing advice in Wales is minimal in the Private Rental Sector for both landlords and tenants. Funding needs to be made available to deliver this support and provide a platform for tenants, even more so now that these changes are being implemented.

What is next?

  • Model contracts are being worked on at present and will be made available for consultation within the next two months. The contracts will be driven by what is in the Act and the supplementary terms consultation.
  • TPAS Cymru are arranging opportunities for members to discuss these contracts and how they could be rolled out to tenants
  • TPAS Cymru are working with the National Assembly to deliver focus groups to tenants on their thoughts around this Bill.