Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016
The housing law is changing – what does it mean for our tenants
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act (RHA) 2016 – what is it?
- From the 1 December, the Welsh Government will implement the RHA. This will change the way we rent our homes, improving the rental experience for all tenants, whoever their landlord is.
- The new act will improve the way we rent, manage and how tenants live in rented homes in Wales.
- It will provide tenants with more protection, and make it clearer about their rights and responsibilities.
Why is it changing?
- We will give our tenants a written contract, setting out all their rights and responsibilities.
What is changing?
- You will hear and see new terminology being used e.g.
- A tenancy agreement will be called an Occupation Contract.
- Tenants will be called Contract Holders.
- Tenancy agreements will be replaced with Occupation Contracts by the end of June 2023.
- Tenants will have greater home security, with 6 months’ notice needed to be given, as long as the contract is not breached.
- All homes must be safe to live in. For example, have working smoke alarms and electricity safety testing.
- Anti-social behaviour will be treated fairly and consistently.
- Contract holders can be added and removed without the need to end the contract.
- Tenants have increased succession rights to pass on their home.
What do these changes mean to our tenants?
- You won’t need to do anything. We will provide all our tenants with new contracts/agreements that are simpler to understand and improve their rights.
- Under the new law, tenants will be known as ‘contract-holders’. Tenancy agreements will be replaced with ‘occupation contracts’.
- For ‘contract-holders’ (tenants) this will mean:
- Receiving a written contract setting out their rights and responsibilities.
- Improved succession rights. These set out who has a right to continue to live in a dwelling, for example after the current tenant dies.
- More flexible arrangements for joint contract-holders, making it easier to add or remove others to an occupation contract.
How will it affect our tenants?
- Our existing tenants will receive a replacement occupation contract within 6 months of the 1 December. When the occupation contract arrives, the current Tenancy Agreement will become invalid.
- New tenants after the 1 December will sign the new occupational contract in the usual way and will receive a copy within 14 days.
- The occupational contract will be set out in a ‘written statement’. This statement will confirm the terms of the contract and contain all the required contractual terms as provided by the Welsh Government. These are:
- Key matters: For example, the names of the landlord and contract-holder and address of the property. These must be inserted in every contract.
- Fundamental Terms: Covers the most important aspects of the contract, including how we gets possession and our obligations regarding repairs.
- Supplementary Terms: Talks about the more practical, day to day matters applying to the occupation contract. For example, the requirement to notify us if the property is going to be left unoccupied for four weeks or more.
- Additional Terms: Addresses any other specifically agreed matters, for example a term, which relates to the keeping of pets.
Will tenants still be a tenant under the RHA?
Yes, they will still be a tenant. Their tenancy agreement will be known as an occupation contract.
What happens to the existing tenancy agreement after 1 December 22?
Our current tenancy agreements will convert into an ‘occupation contract’, which will replace the tenancy agreement. Many of our existing terms will stay the same but some things will change e.g. we need to give tenants more notice of a rent increase.
Will these changes affect rent?
No, this has no affect on rent or cost tenants any money.
What are the Fitness for Human Habitation (FFHH) requirements?
This change in the law helps ensure that we maintain our homes to prevent them from becoming unfit for tenants to live in. Highlights include:
- Reducing damp and condensation.
- Making sure that there is a:
- Hard wired smoke alarm on each floor of a home.
- Carbon monoxide alarm in proper working order in each room where there is a gas appliance, oil fire appliance or solid fuel appliance.
- Ensuring that we do an electrical safety inspection at leave once every five years and there is a valid electrical condition report in place.
What do our tenants need to do?
When our tenants get their new Occupation Contract, they will need to read it, and make sure they understand their rights and responsibilities.
These changes are supported by tenant organisations such as TPAS Cymru and in partnership Shelter Cymru. Please visit their website for more information.
For more information and some frequently asked questions created by the Welsh Government visit.
For an easy read version of the changes to The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 by the Welsh Government visit. (please note this document may not be accessible)