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Welsh Government launch consultation on no-fault evictions

Thursday 11 July 2019

Julie James AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government has launched a consultation asking for views on proposals that include extending the minimum notice period applicable to a section 173 notice from two to six months.

The Welsh Government’s intention to do this was first announced by Julie James in a speech she gave to Shelter Cymru’s Conference in Swansea on 4 July 2019.

Section 173 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, as currently drafted, allows a property owner to seek possession of a property without a breach of contract occurring with two months’ notice. However, the Minister believes there is more the Welsh Government can do about the use of no-fault evictions and has launched a consultation asking for views about amending the Renting Homes Act before it comes into force.

Under the consultation are main proposals for periodic contracts (those contracts with no end-date):

  • Extending the minimum notice period applicable to a section 173 notice from two to six months;
  • Restricting a landlord from serving a section 173 notice within the first six months of a periodic contract, rather than four months as currently provided for;
  • Placing a six-month restriction on issuing a section 173 notice following the expiry of a previous notice.

The main proposals for fixed-term contracts (those contracts with a pre-agreed end-date) are:

  • Removal of a landlord’s ability to end a fixed term standard contract under section 186;
  • To consider the use of break clauses in fixed term contracts.

The Welsh Government are also seeking views about other proposals including:

  • Restrictions on issuing possession notices to landlords which the courts have found to have carried out retaliatory eviction;
  • Restrictions on issuing possession notices to property owners in breach of other laws related to rented housing, such as not having an Energy Performance Certificate or a valid gas safety certificate.

The consultation can be read below and responses must be received by 5 September 2019.

The consultation

The Minister also clarified that the reasons for the delay in implementing the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 was due to reform of court IT systems in England and Wales.

In her statement, Julie James outlined that landlords, agents, licensees and tenants will be given six months’ notice ahead of Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 coming into force, so they have time to prepare for the changes.

The Policy Team will be digesting the proposals and engaging with members. If you have views, please email policy@propertymark.co.uk.