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Renting Homes in Wales – Housing Law Reforms

29th July, 2013

The Law Commission was asked by the Welsh Government to review and update its proposals for housing law reform.

On 9 April 2013 the Law Commission published its report on “Renting Homes in Wales”. This led to the Welsh Government’s White Paper on “Renting Homes – a better way for Wales”. There is a tenant specific event on the proposals on 31 July 2013 and the proposed reform is in consultation until 16 August 2013. You can join the debate HERE.

Over the course of the next few days, we will look at these proposals in more detail.

Nearly a third of the population in Wales (just under 400,000 households) rent their homes from a local authority, housing association or private landlord. A Tenant’s relationship with their Landlord can be complicated and often leads to problems which can only be settled by the courts. The aim is to modernise and simplify the law on housing tenure in Wales.

Renting Homes is a reform of residential Landlord & Tenant in both private and social sectors built on consumer law under which everyone renting a home would have access to a definitive written agreement clearly setting out their rights and responsibilities.

There would therefore be a simple system of secure and standard contracts.
Landlords and occupiers would benefit from:-

• Identical contracts for council and housing association tenants increasing the security of nearly 1.5 million housing association tenant households.
• Improvements to council and housing association tenant’s rights, for example, better succession rights.
• Approved model contracts to make private renting easier, cheaper and more flexible.
• A clear and practical legal framework for supported housing such as women’s refuges and accommodation for people with drink, drug or mental health problems.

There would be the abolition of:-

• Secure tenancies
• Assured tenancies
• Assure shorthold tenancies
• Introductory tenancies
• Demoted tenancies
• Family intervention tenancies
• Various other common law tenancies

It is important to note that existing Rent Act 1977 tenancies will not be abolished.
Rent Act tenants are to be excluded from the automatic conversion into either secure or standard contracts and therefore Rent Act tenancies would continue to exist, though no new Rent Act tenancies could be created after implementation. This still needs to be addressed because if someone dies under such a tenancy it becomes an Assured Tenancy or Assured Shorthold Tenancy under succession which needs to be fixed.

Tomorrow we look at the two new types of contract.

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