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Concerns over recent announcement on consultation to extend landlords notice period

Thursday 04 July 2019

ARLA Propertymark is warning the Welsh Government about the impact of proposed changes after Julie James AM, the Minister for Housing and Local Government has announced she will be launching a consultation about extending the minimum notice period that landlords are required to give under the Renting Homes Act from two months to six months.

The Minister, who announced the news at the Shelter Cymru’s Conference in Swansea on 4 July 2019, will also be seeking views on restricting landlords from issuing such a notice in the first six months of the rental contract.

Ms James said she is optimistic that the final barriers to implementing the Renting Homes Act can be overcome and that tenants will feel all the benefits of the changes before the end of this Assembly next year.

David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark said: “Extending notice periods to six months is absurd. It means that landlords will have to wait half a year before they can start court proceedings, which then takes 22 weeks on average before the tenant is actually evicted. Therefore, this means that tenants could build up almost a year in rent arrears before a Possession Order is enforced; potentially causing landlords to be repossessed by their mortgage lender. In another example, if the tenant is being evicted for anti-social behaviour, these proposals mean that neighbours would be forced to endure up to 12 months of the tenant from hell. This is illogical and will only damage the sector and local communities.”

The news comes after the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, said at the Welsh Labour Conference in April: "We will abolish unfair letting agents fees in the private rented sector and we will end the demeaning and degrading practice of no-fault evictions for those people who live in the private rented sector here in Wales."

ARLA Propertymark has long argued that tenants wish to have long well-maintained tenancies, however it is essential that landlords can be confident that they regain possession quickly when things go wrong. Legislators must consider the practical implementation of any changes and the financial impacts that follow.

Those providing housing to families have never faced such seismic change within such a short period. It is essential that sufficient time is given for all stakeholders to understand the implications and input their views.