A raft of legislation has been published relating to Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.
The legislation includes a commencement order and transitional provisions to deal with existing scenarios (such as notices served) before the Act starts.
Commencement date confirmed
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Commencement No. 2 and Consequential Amendments) Order 2022 confirms the appointed day (start date) of the Act is 1 December 2022.
This means the start date of 1 December 2022 is pretty much a certainty. Any change now would require a change to the legislation.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Saving and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2022 provides various transitional provisions for when the Act commences on 1 December 2022.
The provisions include existing notices served under an assured shorthold tenancy before the Act commences, deposits and rent increases.
Other bits of legislation were also published but nothing of concern to our customers.
Notices that have been served before commencement
Where a notice has been served whilst the tenancy was assured shorthold before commencement and the assured shorthold is converted, the following applies.
Section 21 notice
A section 21 notice served before commencement is valid after the start of the Act.
Possession following the expiry of the notice follows the same procedure as if the tenancy were assured shorthold, including accelerated possession or the standard procedure.
However, the notice only has a shelf life of 2 months from commencement of the Act or two months from the expiry of the notice, whichever is later (reg.3(5)). It would be best if you commenced proceedings before this time if you want to rely on the existing notice.
This follows from earlier amendments to the length of section 21 notices served concerning a converted contract.
Where an assured shorthold tenancy converts to an occupation contract on 1 December, and there’s no existing section 21 to rely on, the no-reason (s.173) notice lengths apply as follows:
- If the tenancy is periodic on 1 December, two months’ notice is retained
- If the tenancy is in the fixed term on 1 December, two months’ notice is allowed during the fixed term up to the last day.
- If the tenancy is in the fixed term on 1 December and becomes periodic, six months’ notice is required.
Any new or substitute contract reverts to six months’ notice being required, which you can only serve during a periodic contract.
Section 8 notice
Section 8 served before commencement is valid after the start of the Act.
Possession following the expiry of the notice follows the same procedure as if the tenancy were assured shorthold, including possession claim online or the standard procedure.
However, once the Act commences, the notice only has a shelf life of 12 months from service or six months from commencement, whichever comes first (reg.3(2)). It would be best if you commenced proceedings before this time if you want to rely on the existing notice.
Once the Act starts, possession remains available for rent arrears, breach of contract and others in a similar way to previously.
Existing deposits before conversion
The new rules for deposits apply to existing deposits taken before the commencement of the Act from when the Act starts. A landlord will require no action for protected deposits as the rules are mostly the same, and there aren’t likely to be any material changes to any scheme rules.
Suppose a tenant has claimed a failure to protect or failure to provide prescribed information under the previous rules under section 214 Housing Act 2004. In that case, that claim will continue under the earlier rules until its conclusion (regs.8 & 9).
Rent increases before commencement
Rent increases and appeals made under section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 continue, provided the process was commenced before the Act started (regulation 10).
There is a provision to increase the rent for a periodic occupation contract under the new rules.
We intend to hold an in-person meeting in Cardiff in October 2022 to discuss getting ready for conversion. More details will follow soon.