NRLA Victory as Welsh Government adopts possession reform recommendations
The NRLA is a step closer to securing changes to the possession reform Bill currently progressing through the Senedd after the Welsh Government accepted the association's proposals.
In the debate on the general principles of the Renting Homes (Amendment) Bill yesterday (Tuesday), the Minister for Housing and Local Government Julie James MS accepted the recommendations from the Equality, Local Government, and Communities Committee’s scrutiny report, which include:
- bringing forward amendments to extend the period in which a notice can be withdrawn – without having to wait a further six months before issuing a new notice – from 14 to 28 days
- commissioning a report on the lack of data surrounding the PRS in order to identify solutions
- exploring the feasibility of a housing court/tribunal and, if so, to prioritise its introduction
- undertaking post-legislative scrutiny of the 2016 Act – as part of this to ensure landlords have the legislative tools necessary to address anti-social behaviour
The Minister also agreed, in principle, to investigate whether there is a need for more mandatory grounds for possession.
These recommendations were adopted by the ELGC Committee following NRLA Wales testimony.
Frustratingly for both landlords and tenants, although the Minister is confident the Bill will be passed before May 2021 election, she said that the Renting Homes Act 2016 this Bill will amend will still not be ready for implementation until Spring 2022 – another delay, this time from Autumn 2021.
The debate on the Bill’s general principles also revealed that:
- Cross party concerns with the human rights of landlords being ignored
- Plaid Cymru do not think the Bill goes far enough and want a ban on “no-fault” evictions
- The Brexit Party and one independent voted against progressing with the Bill
The NRLA will be working with the Welsh Government and opposition parties to secure our other proposed amendments, which include:
- Allow for a six-month S173 notice to be served after four months but take effect at the end of the six-month fixed term, giving tenants more notice (and time to prepare for moving) but the landlord flexibility to preserve the annual business cycle and reducing the chance of administrative errors
- Ensuring legal challenges to a S173 notice by a tenant would need to be raised within 28 days of service.
- Addressing the issue for armed forces personnel who could be left homeless by making such landlords exempt from having to give six-month notices through regulations or including them in the schedules for the Bill.
Read more about our campaign here.