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Welsh Government Unveils New Tenancy Reforms

The Labour-controlled Welsh Government has introduced major new reforms to the private rental sector in Wales and if Labour is successful at the forthcoming general election, these changes will probably be rolled out across the rest of the UK.

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Renting Homes Bill The new Renting Homes (Wales) Bill is an important piece of legislation. It has been designed to replace existing tenancy agreements with contracts. Tenants renting in the private sector will be given one type of contract and social tenants in receipt of welfare benefits will be given a different type of contract.

The key points of the new legislation are:

• Tenants will receive easy-to-understand contracts written in plain English from their landlord or letting agent • Landlords won’t be able to evict tenants as a ‘revenge’ tactic • There will be more flexibility around ‘short-term’ tenancy agreements • Landlords will be given the power to evict domestic abusers without it affecting other tenants living at the same address • 16 and 17 year olds will be able to rent a property in their own name

Shelter Comments Rather predictably, housing charity, Shelter, is not happy with the changes being made in Wales. They are concerned that short-term tenancies give tenants a lower level of housing security compared to other countries in Europe. When asked to comment on the new Welsh housing legislation, the charity said:

“It is important that new tenancies start off with a probationary period. Potentially, this period could be fixed term or monthly periodic. What is unacceptable, though, is the prospect of households languishing with no fixed term indefinitely – a situation which in our view the Renting Homes Bill, as currently drafted, actively encourages by providing for contracts to be periodic from the outset.”


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