December 2022’s implementation of the new Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will increase the minimum notice period landlords must give tenants in order to regain possession of their property to six months.
What’s more, landlords won’t be able to serve notice during the first six months of the tenancy, and they won't be able to serve notice during the fixed-term.
Often referred to as a ‘no fault eviction’, these requirements combined have the effect of guaranteeing tenants a minimum 12-month occupancy where a six-month contract is signed (or 18 months with a 12-month contract), which is particularly relevant to landlords thinking of selling or moving back in in the near future.
Landlords who may be tempted to respond to a legitimate request for a repair by issuing a possession notice – commonly known as a ‘retaliatory eviction’ – will no longer be entitled to possession if the Court believes the notice was issued to avoid carrying out the repair. In this scenario, landlords won’t be able to serve another ‘no fault’ notice for at least six months.
For landlords in the habit of inserting a break clause into their tenancies, they’ll only now be allowed where the tenancy is for a fixed-term of two or more years. Furthermore, a landlord won’t be able to activate a break clause until at least 18 months into the contract, using a minimum six months’ notice.
The Act offers some reassurance to landlords with tenants who have breached the terms of their tenancy. In these instances, the minimum notice is one month, though it can be less if the breach relates to anti-social behaviour or there are serious rent arrears.
However, as ever, if a tenant wishes to stand firm and remain in the property, a court order will have to be obtained in order to correctly and safely regain possession.
Landlords who fail to comply with certain obligations, such as registering the deposit within the correct timeframe or registering/obtaining a licence through Rent Smart Wales, will be unable to serve such eviction notices, which will cause unwanted complications in regaining possession of their property.