The organisation which represents property agents across the UK has criticised the Welsh Government’s proposed changes to eviction notice periods in the private rented.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act was due to come into force on 15 July but was pushed back until 1 December 2022 in May.
The legislation aims to improve security of tenure for renters by, amongst other things, increasing the period of notice that a landlord must give when seeking repossession of their property in instances where the renter is not at fault.
Described as the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades, the act abolishes many of the old forms of tenancy replacing these with statutorily regulated occupation contracts.
Tim Thomas, Policy and Campaigns Officer for Propertymark, said: “Letting agents and their landlords showed great flexibility at the outset of the pandemic in their support of extended notice periods, but again we have a government pursuing permanent changes to what were supposed to be temporary measures.
“The Welsh Government says extending notice periods for existing tenancies from June is necessary to bring down the rising cost to taxpayers of temporary accommodation. What it fails to understand is the knock-on effect this strengthening of tenants’ rights will have on the confidence of landlords.
“New tenancies will also have to comply by 1 December.
“The private landlords our member agents represent have become important housing providers, but they need to know they can regain possession of their property when they need to do so.
“The best way to support tenants is to focus on policies that can increase the supply of housing rather those that will constrain it.”
In September the government launched a consultation on proposals to apply a six-month no-fault notice period to existing tenancies that convert to occupation contracts under the Act, to take effect from 1 June 2023 (the six-month notice period already applies to new contracts starting from next month).
Over 90% of the completed responses received to the consultation were from private landlords and lettings agents, the vast majority of whom were against extending the six-month notice periods to existing tenancies, and of those that were in agreement most favoured applying the change at a later date.
All tenants and tenant representative bodies that responded to the consultation were in favour of the proposed extension, with most also arguing it should be applied from 1 December rather than 1 June 2023.
Julie James, the Minister for Climate Change, who also has responsibility for housing, said: “The proposed extension of the six-month no-fault notice period was always going to generate highly contrasting views.
“Whilst noting the views of those landlords and agents that responded, I have decided that the societal and individual benefits accruing from the extension outweigh the negative impact on individual landlords, particularly in view of shorter notice periods of one month or less applying where there is a breach of contract.”