Renting Homes Act (Wales) 2016
The Renting Homes Act (Wales) 2016 came into effect on 1st December 2022 and brings some of the biggest changes ever seen to the industry. Here at Pinnacle, we have been working hard to learn about all the new changes and implement all that is legally required, our staff have been thoroughly trained and we will continue to support our customers through these changes.
Here is an overview of the changes:
The first big change is the terminology used in the legislation. No longer will we have tenants and tenancy agreements, but Standard Occupation Contracts (SOC) and Contract Holders (CH).
From the 1st of December, you will no longer be able to issue tenancy agreements. Any new contract, as well as renewals, from this date will need to be a Standard Occupation Contract (SOC). We will start to use the terminology 'SOC' and 'CH' from this date.
Included in a Standard Occupational Contract
Key Matters - These set out the details of the agreement, for example:
Fixed-term of periodic.
Any period te Contract Holder (CH) is not entitled to occupy the dwelling (eg. ½ rent summer).
Fundamental Terms - These are the rights and obligations of the landlord and contract holder. Some can be modified/ and or omitted and others are mandatory in every contract. Any amendment must be to the Contract Holder's (CH's) advantage.
Supplementary Terms - These mainly cover maintenance issues at the dwelling and can be left out or modified - these can be to the benefit of landlord or Contract Holder (CH).
Additional Terms - these are any special conditions agreed with Contract Holder (CH), for example, pet deposits, etc.
Contract Holder Rights
The rights of those living in your property have also been adjusted. The tenants will now be considered individual entities under the legislation, and not as a joint entity. They are now able to leave a tenancy when they wish to, however the remaining Contract Holders will need to cover the rent or find a replacement.
The landlord is required to agree to any reasonable request that the contract holder's ask. This will include allowing pets. If a landlord has a valid explanation for refusing the request, such as a block of flats not allowing pets or mortgage limitations, this can be considered fair refusal.
Notices have changed, meaning that reclaiming your property from the Contract Holder could be different. Notices now cannot be served within the fixed term of the contract, and will be a minimum of six months for all Contract Holders.
Contracts signed before the 1st of December 2022 that are converted into Occupational Contracts will (in most circumstances) maintain the right to two months' notice, but we will be able to advise you if this applies to your contract as there are some variations and timeframes which are different for depending upon the contract.
In any circumstances that are not due to a standard end of contract property reclaim, our staff will be able to look into the best way to approach this with the new notices.
Fitness for Human Habitation & Compliance
The Renting Homes Act (Wales) 2016 sets out that all dwellings must be fit for human habitation, and the requirements and obligations of the landlords in terms of its condition. The landlord is responsible for making sure the property is maintained appropriately, repairs are done, and the property is fit for human habitation (FFHH) whilst a contract is in place.
It is important, as a landlord, you must understand this area and what is required for compliance. Non-compliance with the above is considered a breach of Fitness For Human Habitation (FFHH) and may prohibit or delay seeking possession of the property and Contract Holders may be able to claim compensation. Should a dispute arise between the Contract Holder and Landlord, the courts would need to establish if there was a breach and if the property was Fit For Human Habitation (FFHH).
You can find information regarding this here - Fitness for Human Habitation Guidelines
There are several important timelines that you need to be aware of, as you can be faced with fines if these are not adhered to.
The final date to convert your tenancy agreement to a new standard occupation contract is May 31st 2023.
Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in all properties with gas by 1st December 2022. There will need to be one in each room with a solid fuel burning appliance, gas appliance or oil-burning appliance.
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) needs to be done on your property before 30th November 2023. A copy of this certificate needs to be issued to the tenant within seven days. This will need to be issued within seven days each time it is completed.
Any electrical work undertaken in the property needs a report (such as a detailed invoice) to be issued to the Contract Holder within seven days.
Mains powered fire alarms are now required, with an alarm on each floor. For converted contracts, you have 12 months to install these, or before a new Contract Holder can move in. We would advise undertaking this work as soon as possible and can obtain a quote for you if you would like.
EPC regulations must be abided by, and a copy issued to Contract Holders (if you are a managed tenancy with us, we will have issued this on signing). If a new EPC is undertaken, a copy needs to be issued to the Contract Holder within seven days.
Each time a gas safety certificate is undertaken, a copy needs to be issued to the tenants within seven days.
RHW2 form (notice of landlord's address for service) must be served by 31st May 2023 and with each new contract issued including a contract that moves from a fixed term to a periodic contract.
Further information can be found at the following Gov website - FAQ