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Renting Homes in Wales – Housing Law Reforms

7th August, 2013

Today we continue our series of articles about proposed changes to residential lettings in Wales.

Succession Rights

The proposal is to standardise the right to take over a housing association or council tenancy when the current tenant dies and giving a new right to a long term resident carer.

Learning from Scotland

If no spouse or other qualifying family member is available then a resident carer can also qualify and is able to succeed if they have given up their home to live in the property for which no period of residence is required. There is a limit of two successions.

Succession rights to be extended in secure contracts

Currently the surviving spouse or civil partners of assured tenants of registered social landlords are entitled to success to the assured tenancy and there can only be one succession.

The provisions are different for local authority secure tenants where there is one succession which may be to a surviving spouse or civil partner or to a member or the deceased tenant’s family (including those living together as husband and wife or civil partners).

Priority and Reserve successors

Extended succession rights would allow succession to a priority successor being a spouse or partner of the contract holder who occupied the home as their only or principle residence at the time of death of the tenant. There can only be one priority successor.

Following the death of the contract holder who was a priority successor, succession would be allowed to a reserve successor being family members and carers on the proviso that they occupied the home as their principle or sole residence at the time of the contract holder’s death and throughout the preceding 12 months. In order for cares to succeed, they must not occupy any other premises as their home.

A more flexible approach to Joint Tenancies

It is to be made easier for people to added to or leave joint rental contracts. Current law on joint tenancies is rigid and can be difficult to understand. If a join tenant notifies the landlord they are leaving the tenancy, this automatically brings to an end the tenancy for the other joint tenant(s). This can place the remaining tenant(s) in a very vulnerable situation as the landlord may refuse to give them another tenancy putting them as risk of becoming homeless.

The proposal is that a joint tenant should be able to give notice to the landlord and the other tenant(s) stating their intention to withdraw which will allow the remaining tenant(s) time to find a replacement.

Landlords will also be able to remove a joint tenant from the tenancy if they believe the individual no longer lives at the premises and has permanently left allowing the remaining tenant to continue the tenancy.

Tomorrow we take a look at Anti-Social Behaviour law and the new prohibited conduct terms.

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