The NRLA Wales team is based in Cardiff and represents the interests of private rented sector (PRS) landlords by maintaining good working relationships with the Welsh Government, Members of the Senedd, councillors, Rent Smart Wales, and other stakeholders in the housing sector. We also speak directly to landlords by facilitating select landlord forums.
In using its powers, the Welsh Parliament has passed three signifcant pieces of legislation governing the PRS in the last few years: the requirement to register and/or licence was brought in by the Housing Act 2014; wholescale reform is soon to come into force by the yet-to-be-implemented Renting Homes Act 2016; and the tenant fees were banned in 2019. Currently, the Welsh Government is taking a possession reform Bill through the Senedd which will significantly change the evictions regime in Wales.
NRLA Wales is here at every stage to ensure policymakers are aware of the issues affecting landlords and that their interests are heard as we aim to make the PRS work for both tenants and landlords.
When the Covid-19 outbreak came to the UK, the devolved administrations followed the steps of the UK Government fairly closely. However, there has been some divergence between the UK Government and the Welsh Government in dealing with the pandemic.
Here, we detail some of the key differences and give further information on what the Welsh Government and local authorities are doing that landlords should know during the pandemic.
NRLA Wales Manifesto 2021
With the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament election approaching on 6 May 2021, NRLA Wales have released their priorities for the next five years. NRLA Wales is committed to working with government, and all of those parties and politicians seeking to represent local communities, to shape legislation that benefits both landlords and tenants while improving standards across the sector. We believe this can happen by:
- Streamlining licensing
- Supporting landlords and tenants
- Improving homes
- Introducing a Welsh Housing Survey
- Improving justice for landlords and tenants
- Rejecting rent controls and Right-to-Rent
Rent Smart Wales: The Accountability Gap
The NRLA published a report in January 2021, Rent Smart Wales: The Accountability Gap, to review RSW’s performance as the body marks its fifth anniversary. The main conclusions of the report include:
- RSW has an accountability deficit and lacks transparency;
- There is no regular evaluation of RSW, hampering improvements to the regime;
- The absence of a central, guiding strategy for the private rented sector (PRS) from the Welsh Government has contributed to RSW’s shortcomings;
- RSW has not engaged well enough with landlords, tenants, or local authorities;
- Landlords are paying in more than they get out of RSW; and
- In meeting its objectives, RSW’s record has been far from stellar despite meeting a number of its targets for participation.
The report, marking the most comprehensive assessment of the powerful quango, to date also makes recommendations to improve RSW’s performance and stakeholders’ confidence in it:
- There should be a public annual report into RSW’s performance and direct scrutiny by the Senedd every year;
- Operational and political decisions should be clearly identified for reasons of accountability;
- As was recommended by a Senedd Committee in 2011, an encompassing PRS strategy from the Welsh Government is needed, potentially setting out a wider role for RSW;
- The unanticipated surplus, numbering in the millions, generated by RSW through law abiding landlords should be used to provide discounts or free training for landlords or more effectively deployed into improving enforcement activities and tackling criminal landlords.
Write to your Members of the Senedd using this editable, downloadable letter urging them to consider our report and to instigate a committee inquiry into Rent Smart Wales.
Campaign - Possession Reform
Last year, the Welsh Government announced its intention to reform possession law in Wales. It has decided to press forward with its proposals – which it consulted on last summer – in the form of the Renting Homes (Amendment) Bill. The proposals are:
- Extend the minimum notice period required under a Section 173 notice – this will replace Section 21 once the Act is commenced – from two months to six months.
- Restrict the issue of a S173 notice until six months after the date of issue of a contract (as opposed to four months as currently set out in the Act).
- Restrict the issuing of a S173 notice for six months after the expiry of a previous notice.
- Remove a landlord’s ability issue a notice, during a fixed term standard contract, to end the contract at the expiry of the fixed term (under S186).
- Restrict the use and ability to include break clauses in contracts of a certain duration.
The Bill will amend the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 before it is commenced. When the Bill passes, the amended 2016 Act will come into force before the 2021 Welsh Parliament election on 1 April 2021 as the Welsh Government intends.
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The latest news on the private rented sector in Wales:
The Senedd (Welsh Parliament) has approved a Bill designed to give tenants greater security of tenure, due to come into force in Spring 2022 as part of wholescale reform to the private rented sector.
The Renting Homes (Amendment) Bill, which aims to give greater security of tenure to tenants, passed its penultimate hurdle in the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) yesterday.
Landlord Yvonne bought a property in Conwy, North Wales 5 years ago. Prior to the pandemic hitting, there were no issues with the tenant. However, issues began to arise in March last year when the tenant suddenly stopped paying any rent.
An 'accountability deficit' exists within Rent Smart Wales,
the nation's registration and licensing authority for the private rented sector, according to a report published by the NRLA today.
The Welsh Government recently laid regulations to enforce the winter truce that bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO) have been asked to follow over the Christmas period, from 11 December 2020 to 11 January 2021. In this blog NRLA Wales policy officer Calum Davies explains what landlords in Wales need to know.
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Calum DaviesWelsh Policy & Public Affairs Officer.
Calum Davies is the Policy & Public Affairs Officer for NRLA Wales. After working in communications and research for a political party in the Welsh Parliament, Calum moved to the NRLA to promote the work of the Association to members, politicians, and stakeholders in Wales.
He ensures they are aware of landlord interests when they legislate and regulate in the PRS, helps run the Cardiff Landlord Forum, and develops policy and organises events for NRLA Wales.