Law Commission report

On 9 April 2013, the Law Commission has published the report “Renting Homes in Wales” (Law Com No 337). The report updated the original Renting Homes proposals and addressed any possible devolution issues arising from their implementation in Wales by legislation in the National Assembly. This report is based on the recommendations in “Renting Homes: The Final Report” (Law Com No 297), which was published in two volumes. The first volume provided recommendations and contains an illustrative model secure contract and standard periodic contract. Volume 2 contained the draft Rented Homes Bill.

Recommendations

In the final report, the Law Commission recommends a simple system of secure and standard contracts, in place of the existing multiplicity of tenancy and licence types.

According to the Law Commission, landlords and occupiers would benefit from:

  • Identical contracts for council and housing association tenants. This will increase the security of the nearly 1.5 million housing association tenant households.
  • Improvements to council and housing association tenants’ rights; eg better succession rights and the right to apply to add a partner or flatmate to the contract.
  • Model contracts approved by the Government/Welsh Ministers to make private renting easier, cheaper and more flexible.
  • A clear and practical legal framework for supported housing, which provides accommodation for people with drink, drug or mental health problems, women’s refuges, etc.

The recommendations would allow for the abolition of:

  • secure tenancies
  • assured tenancies
  • assured shorthold tenancies
  • introductory tenancies
  • demoted tenancies
  • various varieties of common law tenancies

The only major existing form of tenancy not to be abolished would be Rent Act tenancies, but there would be a power for the Secretary of State/Welsh Assembly Government to do so.

Further details can be found on the Law Commission’s page regarding the renting homes in Wales project.

Initial comment

I remember looking at the renting homes report when it was first published what would be over 10 years ago now and overall it wasn’t that bad and actually has some sensible ideas such as better ways of dealing with abandonment for example. Although this would mean significant changes in Wales, the fundamentals of letting wouldn’t change too much and there is no suggestion that landlords would loose any rights to possession from what they currently have.

Please be wary of scaremongering and headline grabbing articles which will be attempts to make a story more than what it is. When we know more, we will report accurately here.

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