The Welsh Government has announced that the requirement to give six months notice in most cases has been extended until at least 24 March 2022 which is when the Coronavirus Act ends. We expect the Coronavirus Act to be extended in due course.
The current six-month notice extension was set to expire on 31 December 2021 but now from that date, The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Extension of Period of Protection from Eviction) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2021 commences and extends the ‘relevant period’ until 24 March 2022.
The written statement explains the purpose as:
The purpose of this alteration is to ensure that, at a time when there remains a serious threat to public health, both as a result of Covid-19 case rates remaining high overall and concern regarding the emergence of the new Omicron variant, landlords will continue to be required to provide an increased notice period to tenants before they can issue proceedings for possession. The effect will to be to delay evictions meaning that: fewer people will face eviction into homelessness at a time when this might exacerbate the spread of the virus and when local authorities are less able to respond to these situations; those renting their homes will benefit from increased security and reduced anxiety; and individuals at risk of eviction will be provided with increased time to seek support to resolve any problems, including applying to the Tenancy Hardship Grant scheme, which I introduced in July.
Under the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Act 2021, it is the case that when the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 comes into force which replaces assured shorthold tenancies and all notices, the length of the equivalent to a section 21 will become six months permanently.
No commencement date for Renting Homes has been announced, but it’s possible to be during 2022.
In our view, the true reason for extending the notice periods currently is to try to ensure they remain at six months (for the section 21 at least) until Renting Homes commences.
The COVID-19 numbers between England and Wales are comparably similar, give or take a few ups and downs. Given England have returned the notice lengths to two months since 1 October 2021, there appears to be no reason why Wales should need to do any different.