The Welsh Government's Renting Homes Act will come into effect this summer, after years of delay.

The law, first passed in 2016, will make changes to the duties required of landlords in Wales, increasing eviction notice periods and introducing some minimum housing standards.

From 15th July, landlords will have to give tenants at least six months' notice when serving a Section 21 eviction order, instead of two.

Often called a "no fault" eviction notice, a Section 21 orders the renter to vacate a home solely because the landlord wants to repossess it - if, for example, they want to sell the property, or rent to a family member instead.

These eviction orders differ from those that are issued over rent disputes or allegations of antisocial behaviour.

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Other measures will include a duty for landlords to ensure the property they rent is "fit for human habitation" by providing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and regular electrical safety testing - with rent not payable unless those facilities are provided - as well as a minimum occupation period of six months before a landlord can issue an eviction notice.

Tenants will become known as "contract holders", and as a result of the changes will have a minimum of one year's security at the start of their tenancy before they can be made to leave.

The National Wales: Julie James, Climate Change Minister (Picture: Huw Evans Agency)Julie James, Climate Change Minister (Picture: Huw Evans Agency)

“The way we rent in Wales will become simpler and more transparent this year," said Climate Change Minister Julie James, who has responsibility for housing.

“This Act represents the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades.

“The Act will make it simpler and easier to rent a home in Wales, replacing various, complex pieces of existing legislation and case law with one clear legal framework.

“When in place, contract-holders in Wales will have greater security of tenure than in any other part of the UK.”

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In its original form, many of the Act's headline changes - such as the minimum occupation period and the six month notice period for no fault evictions - were not included.

These policies were added in a later amendment which, along with a series of delays attributed to negotiations with officials in Westminster, meant that the Welsh Government had pushed the Act's implementation date to early 2021.

This date was pushed back again when the Covid pandemic erupted, with the First Minister announcing that all but two Bills - one extending the vote to 16 and 17 year-olds in time for the local government elections, and one introducing the new Welsh curriculum - would be "deprioritised"  as the government dealt with the crisis.

"I acknowledge that it has taken longer than expected to implement the 2016 Act, but it has required the development of many statutory instruments, some of which have required separate consultation," Julie James said earlier this week.

"In order to avoid confusion, we also decided to deliver on our commitment to increase security of tenure prior to implementation of the 2016 Act, which we did by bringing forward the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Act 2021." 

In his speech to the 2019 Welsh Labour conference, Mark Drakeford had originally pledged to abolish no fault evictions, telling members: "We will end the demeaning and degrading practice of no-fault evictions for people in the private rented sector."

You can find out more about the incoming changes here.

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