New government report plans to simplify rental agreements in Wales

New report to change current letting contracts

The Welsh government has published its latest white paper report entitled: "Renting Homes: A Better Way For Wales". The main purpose of the report is to propose a bill that will simplify the current rental arrangements, so that there are only two types of contracts landlords and tenants can enter into.

The two contracts proposed are:

  1. A ‘secure contract’ modelled on the current secure tenancy issued by local authorities
  2. A ‘standard contract’ modelled on the assured shorthold tenancy that used mainly in the private rented sector

The paper explains in more detail that the proposals will not profoundly change the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords that are currently in existence. They are instead designed to create a simpler and more logical legal framework compared to the intricacy of current law. Finally and most importantly the new proposals will provide a fair, simple and effective legal basis for letting a home.

The white paper report also makes the point that letting agents and landlords have been known to produce their own contracts that add a number of unfair practises for tenants. The potential proposals in this report aim to tackle this unethical practise and provide a more simplified arrangement.

Reaction to the proposed renting changes

The proposed changes to how social and private homes are rented in Wales have not been received positively by all areas of the housing industry. The biggest criticism of the plans came from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) who believe that the changes will significantly increase the costs to its members and that the extra money spent on the Welsh government’s proposals would be better spent on building new and modern homes.

The RLA’s main criticism of the proposals focused on the simplified rental contracts; currently local authority-owned rented properties operate under secure tenancies. These allow tenants to live in their properties indefinitely. Whereas private rented and housing association tenants are subject to assured shorthold tenancies. These two policies give tenants the right to live in a property for a fixed period but landlords can terminate the contract when it ends. Under the new proposals these contracts would no longer be valid and would need to be modified to fit under one of the two simplified contracts mentioned.

Douglas Haig, RLA director for Wales said:

"The laudable intention of the government's proposals, namely simplification, are ones which we wholeheartedly share. Nevertheless in our view, tenure reform can be achieved in a less radical way and without the huge upheaval and expense involved for landlords, tenants and others involved in all sectors of rented housing."

The reaction to the white paper report was nevertheless seen by some as a positive step; Shelter Cymru director John Puzey welcomed the proposals saying they were a “really important step forward.”

"Some of the law associated with tenure dates back hundreds of years so the proposals to simplify contracts and establish two clear forms of tenure will benefit tenants in both the private and social sectors.”

Ian Potter, managing director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents said: “The proposals set out by the Welsh government for the rental sector include some solid steps towards improving standards and quality across all parts of the sector. This can only be a good thing.”

Professional and dedicated letting agents

While the changes are still in the preliminary stages and still need to be put in front of the Welsh Assembly before potentially being made into law, we’re extremely happy with any possible changes that makes the lives of tenants and landlords easier.

If you’re a tenant looking for a place to rent in Cardiff or a landlord looking to let one of your properties, feel free to contact us. We are always happy to help and look forward to speaking with you! We are enormously proud of the professional, reliable and dedicated service we provide and look forward to working with new and returning landlords and tenants in the future.

28 May 2013


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