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Welsh Government extend rules on notice periods

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Letting agents and landlords in Wales must wait six months before they can start evictions it was announced yesterday, 15 September, except where anti-social behaviour or domestic violence is involved.

Under the powers of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the deadline has been extended until 31 March 2021, the original deadline was 20 September 2020. Housing Minister, Julie James MS also confirmed there will be a pause on physical evictions both during the festive period and within any further local lockdown, the same as the UK Government announced recently.

However, the Minister also announced that, with immediate effect, tenants can be given shorter notice periods if they are involved in anti-social behaviour or domestic violence, the same as before COVID-19 regulations came into play. Propertymark has worked with other sector partners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to present evidence-based arguments to the Welsh Government relating to anti-social behaviour, confirming the need for these shorter notice periods.

Updated regulations are being prepared and will be shared with the sector shortly.

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The Coronavirus pandemic is continuing to have a significant impact on daily life and is still posing major challenges for all of us, I have therefore acted to give additional protection to renters.

I am committed to ensuring we continue to protect renters whilst at the same time mitigating impacts on landlords and protecting communities from the harmful effects of ongoing anti-social behaviour.

Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government

Rent arrears support package

Where rent arrears have accumulated due to COVID-19, private rented sector tenants will soon be able to apply for a loan through the Tenancy Saver Loan Scheme, which opens at the end of September 2020. The Welsh Government has provided £1.4 million to boost services that support people in Wales to manage debt problems. 

Beyond the pandemic

Looking beyond the pandemic, the Welsh Government will continue with their Bill to amend the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 to increase the security of tenure. The Bill extends the no-fault notice period from two to six months, and landlords will be prevented from issuing a no-fault notice until at least six months from the date of occupancy. This means those renting their homes will have a minimum of 12 months' security of tenure from the outset of their contract, meaning the security of tenure in Wales will be greater than elsewhere in the UK.

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The Welsh Government has acknowledged the need to extend the notice periods, despite being difficult for many to implement, including staying on top of rapidly changing local lockdowns. However, it is a welcome addition to a support package for those in Wales with rent arrears that will help to maintain tenancies and #keeptherentflowing.

Timothy Douglas

Timothy Douglas
ARLA Propertymark Policy and Campaigns Manager