THE Welsh Government is under fire for announcing a delay on protections for those in rented accommodation just six weeks before they were due to come into force. 

Climate change minister Julie James said extending the period a landlord must give for a ‘no fault eviction’ - from two months to six - won’t now be made law as planned from July 15. 

Other changes the delayed Renting Homes Act would have introduced from July were a protection against revenge evictions and minimum standards that would ensure houses are fit for habitation. 

But all those changes are on hold until December 1, James said at the request of landlords. 

Housing charity Shelter Cymru has said it is “frustrated” by the decision which it said has been taken while Wales is in a housing crisis. 

READ MORE: Welsh Government agrees to landlords' request to delay new protections for tenants

While both the Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru criticised the delay the decision has also been described as a “serious failure” by a former Welsh Government minister. 

Alun Davies, Labour MS for Blaenau Gwent, had been a minister from 2016 - and responsible for local government from 2017 - until Mark Drakeford became first minister in 2018. He said an inquiry should be held into why the act, first passed in 2016, has again been delayed. 

Writing on Twitter Davies said he had also served on the committee which scrutinised the bill. 

He wrote: “This demands significant scrutiny and accountability. I was on the bill cttee. I don’t believe it passed in a flawed manner. But there has clearly been a serious failure in implementation - and as a minister who was at least partly responsible - there must be an inquiry.” 

Rob Simkins, who lives in rented accommodation and is a member of tenants’ union Acorn, said James had caved in to pressure from landlords. 

He said: “It is worrying that representatives from the landlord lobby seem to have kicked this into the long grass, as if six years isn’t long enough.” 

Simkins, who has worked in the housing sector, said the protection of extending the notice period for ‘no fault evictions’ – from two to six months is a “step in the right direction” though he would have preferred a ban on the practice known as Section 21 evictions which allow landlords to end a tenancy without giving a reason. 

Mark Drakeford had announced in 2019 plans to end no fault evictions, as is also proposed in England and has been done in Scotland, and the Welsh Labour leader also signed a Shelter Cymru pledge to do so. 

Some 13 per cent of households in Wales, which is around 176,000, live in privately rented accommodation with a further 15 per cent in social housing. 

As the country has seen the cost of living increase rents have also spiralled , with some figures putting the average increase in Wales at 9.8 per cent since March 2020, meaning only London and Northern Ireland have seen greater rises than Wales in that period. 

Those factors will place further strains on anyone faced with just two months to find, and finance, a new home and its feared many would be unable to avoid a crisis – including potential homelessness. 

Simkins said without the enhanced protections thousands of people remain in a precarious housing situation. 

“You could have the best relationship with your landlord but the slightest change could mean you have two months to sort your whole life out. 

“Personally I’ve worked in the housing sector and have some knowledge and experience but that isn’t the case for most people and housing is so opaque.” 

At the start of the pandemic the Welsh Government had extended the notice period to six months but in January this year announced it was reverting to the old two-month period before the new protections would be introduced in July. 

READ MORE: 'The Welsh Government has packed private tenants off down the river'

Shelter Cymru has said it has already seen a spike in ‘no fault’ evictions and said its case work shows they have doubled compared to 12 months ago. 

Citizens Advice Cymru has said 14,000 people came to it last year seeking help on housing. 

Simkins said: “What happens in six months time if this crops up again? Are we going to kick the can down the road again? This has already created a gold rush for evictions and it is a landlord’s market at the moment. 

“It is a complete failure and someone needs to get to grips with it as if you haven’t got a good home it’s impossible to lead a happy, healthy life and concentrate on education or other things.” 

Harry Thompson, the economic policy lead for think tank the Institute of Welsh Affairs, said on Twitter that he felt the government had: “Listened way too much to vested interests instead of actual people affected.” 

He added that it would be “impossible to believe” that legislation that had been passed in a “flawed way” would have done so if the Senedd was “stuffed with working class people on modest salaries who rented”. 

In her statement James confirmed the delay was at the request of landlords, including social landlords, and said she wanted to give them more time to prepare for the implementation of new regulations. 


Propertymark, the professional body for estate and letting agents, said it was surprised by the delay – which it said had “come out of the blue”. 

It said the Welsh Government now needed to ensure landlords and agents are aware of what’s required of them. 

Daryl McIntosh, its policy manager for the devolved nations, said: “We urge Ministers to get on with publishing the remaining regulations within their original timeframe of June and July to ensure there is sufficient lead-in time and to avoid any further delays and uncertainty.” 

Adam Male, chief revenue officer at online lettings agent Mashroom, said he thought the decision will be welcomed by landlords stating the January announcement had only given them six months to prepare. 

He said many would be unable to comply with new safety requirements in six months and said changes to eviction notices would impact landlords “particularly those who have a genuine reason to quickly repossess a rental property." 

Of the political reaction the Conservatives said the Welsh Government had shown itself unable to enact its own legislation and that delays would cause uncertainty for tenants and landlords. 

Plaid Cymru said: “Tenants need these protections now more than ever, and the Labour Welsh Government has let them down.” 

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