Wales

Introduction

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 (Wales) Act 2014;
  • Sweeping reform of the tenancy regime will come into force on December 01 2022 as a result of the Renting Homes Act 2016;
  • Tenant fees were also banned in 2019.

Currently the Welsh Government is focused on implementing the secondary legislation required to support the introduction of Renting Homes Wales. As part of the co-operative agreement between Plaid and Labour, rent controls is also on the agenda in Wales. Though this is at an early stage, the NRLA is strongly opposed to rent controls and is making the case that rent controls will decrease supply in the sector, making it harder for tenants to find homes to live in.

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.

Renting Homes Wales Act 2016 – Delayed to December 2022

Following an announcement by the Welsh Government, landlords in Wales will now have additional time to prepare for Renting Homes Wales.

Renting Homes Wales will now come into force from 1 December 2022, giving landlords additional time to prepare.

Previously, Renting Homes Wales was set to come into force from July 15, 2022.

The delay for implementing Renting Homes Wales, also means an extension on the grace period for landlords with existing tenants.

We hope the delay will help landlords better prepare for the implementation date of 1 December 2022, and we will continue to raise and we will continue to keep our membership updated as soon as we find out any further information around the Renting Homes Wales Act.

The following requirements now apply to tenancies that convert to standard contracts on December 1:

  • Written statements need to be provided by 30 May 2023.
  • Landlords need to have EICRs and smoke alarms fitted by November 30 2023.

More legislation is still required before Renting Homes Wales comes into force. This has now been delayed until July. As we receive further information on this it will be posted here on our Wales campaign page.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

“The NRLA had warned for some time that the Welsh Government’s timetable for implementation of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act was unrealistic and provided insufficient time for landlords to prepare. It is reassuring that landlords’ concerns have been heeded, albeit late in the day.

“We welcome the announcement that implementation will be postponed until 1 December 2022. This will give the Government time to consider the many issues raised by private and social landlords ahead of these major changes coming into force.”

Renting Homes Wales

As December 1 2022 approaches, landlords in Wales continue to prepare for the introduction of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. 

Once Renting Homes Wales is in force, landlords will see significant changes to the way they manage their properties. These include:

  • changes to the type of possession notice required and the notice periods given; 
  • changes to what happens if tenants serve notice; 
  • the introduction of new fitness for human habitation requirements; 
  • the introduction of retaliatory eviction protection; 
  • the abolition of the assured shorthold tenancy and replaces it with new occupation contracts; 
  • the introduction of an abandonment procedure, allowing landlords to take back possession without going to court if the tenant has left without notice; 
  • requirements to serve a variety of new documents and prescribed forms; 
  • the legal requirement to introduce a number of fundamental terms into all contracts in Wales. 

These rules and requirements are set out in the written contract that landlords must provide to their occupants under Renting Homes Wales so, in theory, for new contracts starting on or after December 1 2022 all parties should be reasonably clear about what they must do. 

What is the policy team doing around Renting Homes Wales?

The policy team has produced a number of guides and resources to help landlords comply with Renting Homes Wales already, including guidance on converting contracts and checklists for ensuring the property meets the new requrements.

However, we still have a number of resources coming ahead of December 1 2022, including new occupation contracts and templates for converting existing NRLA ASTs to the new occupation contracts.

In addition to this, we are continuing to highlight areas where secondary legislation will need to be amended to help landlords. Most recently, we have had it confirmed that further legislation is set to be published in June that will -

  • allow section 21 and section 8 notices that were served  before December 1 2022 to be usable in court after the transition date;
  • amend the deposit legislation so that landlords don't need to reprotect a deposit or reissue prescribed information upon conversion.

We will continue to update our members as the new legislation appears. 

Preparing for Renting Homes Wales
Renting Homes Wales checklist
Converting tenancies to occupation contracts
 

NRLA Shadow White Paper

Back in March, the NRLA set out is vision of a fairer, more inclusive PRS in Wales.

The Shadow White Paper, entitled “The Future of Private Renting in Wales”, sets out the NRLA’s proposals including an analysis of why the introduction of rent controls would have a destructive impact on the Welsh PRS.

Along with rejecting rent controls, the paper made a number of other recommendations. These include:

  • improving the LHA rates and boosting supply to meet demand 

  • a commitment to allowing the Renting Homes (Wales) Act to be properly and fully implemented before embarking on a further round of changes to the sector; 

  • the provision of more financial support to landlords to help with energy efficiency improvements; 

  • a final audit on the performance of Rent Smart Wales since its introduction; 

  • an exemption from the Land Transaction Levy where a landlord is bringing a new property into the PRS, boosting the supply of properties for long term rent; 

  • a Welsh housing Survey to improve data on housing in wales. 

Since its publication, the NRLA has held a number of meetings with members of the Senedd and other campaign groups to make the case in person and find areas where we can work together to make these sensible proposals a reality.  

Supporting the White Paper, the NRLA commissioned an independent report by Capital Economics which suggests that Wales would need an average of just under 9,000 new private rented properties to meet housing targets. Despite this increasing demand for homes, only 11 per cent of landlords polled by NRLA said they planned to increase the number of properties they let out. Far more, 37 per cent, plan to cut the number they rent out.

Our White Paper sets out what must be done in Wales to build a fairer, more inclusive PRS for both tenants and landlords and the damage that outmoded notions of rent control could have on the market. 

Ultimately, with affordability and supply issues continuing to dog the Welsh private rented sector, rent controls would exacerbate these ongoing problems and fail to provide a solution fit for the twenty-first century.

Rather than focus on rents, the Welsh Government must target costs, making the provision of homes more affordable.

A good start would be removing the controversial 4% Land Transaction Levy on the purchase of additional homes which disincentivises investment in much needed homes.

Ben Beadle, NRLA CEO

The Future of Private Renting in Wales

Last updated: 23/05/2022 at 15:27 - 1.44 MB

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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.

Rent Smart Wales - The Accountability Gap

Last updated: 07/01/2021 at 15:30 - 751.98 KB

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Share your story

As part of our ongoing policy work, we rely on our member feedback to shape our policy direction and to provide case studies to strengthen the submissions we make on behalf of our members.

We are also interested in identifying and raising the issues that landlords face in implementing the Renting Homes Wales Act. This will help to shape our Wales-specific resources, as well as helping us highlight these issues to the Welsh government. 

If you would like to share your story then please get in touch with the campaigns team via the share your story button below.

Contacting your MS

While the NRLA will continue to campaign on behalf of our members, as your local representative they will give your voice more weight than any national campaign. If you can spare time to write to them on the issues facing landlords in Wales, it can make a real difference.

Contact details for Members of the Senedd

Tips for writing content for your MS

Be personal - By linking your concerns to real examples you will engage the reader and help them to sympathise with your concerns.

Focus on the local - Your MS is more likely to support landlord concerns if they understand how it impacts on their area. 

Relate your concerns to your tenants - The more people that are helped by supporting landlords, the greater the chance the MS will be convinced of your argument.

Be succinct - Try to limit yourself to no more than two pages of A4. MPs receive numerous letters every week. By keeping it short you will stand out from the rest, increasing the chance they will process all the information you give them.

Provide solutions - A letter to your MS is not just a chance to educate them about an issue, it's a chance to propose solutions as well. If you have a sensible plan of action, laid out in a clear way, they are more likely to support it.

Latest news

The latest news on the private rented sector in Wales:

New Renting Homes Wales legislation announced

Further subordinate legislation, necessary for the Welsh Government to implement the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 has been approved. In this blog our policy officer Josh Lovell takes a closer look at this and explains more about NRLA campaigning.

Industry News Josh Lovell 25/07/2022
New Renting Homes Wales legislation announced

Q&A: Get to know NRLA Wales policy officer Josh

In the next blog in our meet the team series, get to know our Wales policy officer Josh Lovell better.

Helpful Tips Victoria Barker 25/07/2022
Q&A: Get to know NRLA Wales policy officer Josh

Blog: Minister joins NRLA at Shelter Cymru conference

Climate change minister Julie James addressed the Shelter Cymru conference this week, with the NRLA also in attendance to discuss the vital role PRS landlords play in providing homes to rent. Douglas Haig, the NRLA's non-executive director with special responsibility for Wales, addressed delegates and spoke to the Minister about support needed for landlords with homes in Wales.

Industry News Douglas Haig 29/06/2022
Blog: Minister joins NRLA at Shelter Cymru conference

Q&A: Get to know NRLA Wales representative Sandra

In the latest of our meet the team blogs, get to know one of our regional reps, Sandra Towers. Sandra helps run networking events for landlords across North Wales, as well as the Midlands.

Helpful Tips Victoria Barker 20/06/2022
Q&A: Get to know NRLA Wales representative Sandra

Your Wales events and training update: June & July

Welcome to your training and events guide for June and July. .

Events Victoria Barker 15/06/2022
Your Wales events and training update: June & July
James Wood

James Wood Policy Manager

James Wood, LLB, is the NRLA’s Policy Manager. James has provided legally sound advice to thousands of landlords for over 6 years, along with producing the organisation’s guides and documents and training the organisation’s highly rated advice service.

See all articles by James Wood