We explain the quirks of both current and new legislation, plus some free tips.
The response to our series of blogs on the new Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 has been fantastic, with a huge number of landlords getting in touch to ask how they can comply with the new legislative changes.
Our blog on tenants being guaranteed a minimum of 12 months’ occupancy under the new Act has prompted a few landlords to ask us about the minimum period of notice they must give to their tenant(s) in order to regain possession of their property.
When The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 comes into force on 1st December 2022, the minimum notice period is six months – albeit with one notable, not-well-publicised exception.
So, a summary of the minimum notice periods landlords must serve;
- Now until until 30th November 2022: 2 months
- 1st December 2022 onwards: 6 months (but read on for a key exception to this...)
There are shorter notice periods available to landlords where a tenant has breached a term of their tenancy/contract, but in this article we’re talking about ‘no fault’ evictions.
Our advice to landlords
- Be very careful about notices that end on or after 1st December 2022. Why? Well, Section 21 of The Housing Act 1988 gives landlords grounds to recover possession of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) and is where the commonly-known ‘section 21 notice’ gets its name from. But when The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 comes in on 1st December 2022, ASTS no longer exist as they’re automatically converted to ‘occupation contracts’, so how can landlords rely on a notice that specifically references a type of tenancy that no longer exists? As it stands, they can’t, so section 21 notices become null and void once Renting Homes is in.
- However, we've been informed that there are plans to allow a section 21 notice served prior to implementation of the Renting Homes Act to be valid for two months after the possession date stated on the notice. For example, a Section 21 notice issued on 20th November 2022 with a possession date of 20th January 2023 would expire on 20th March 2023. Possession proceedings would need to commence prior to this date. If the notice is served prior to the implementation of the Renting Homes Act, and the possession date stated on the notice also falls before 1st December 2022, it's expected that the notice will expire two months after the implementation of the Act. In these instances, a possession claim made before the expiry date of the notice would be considered under the Housing Act 1988, rather than the Renting Homes Act. Please note that this has not yet been made law.
- As referenced earlier, assured shorthold tenancies that are already in place on 1st December 2022 will be automatically converted to occupation contracts under the new legislation. A periodic tenancy that’s in existence on 1st December 2022 will be converted to an occupation contract but will retain just two months’ notice whilst it remains a periodic contract. A converted fixed-term contract is more complicated, but in short, the two months’ notice for serving during a fixed-term (expiring on or after the last day of term) is retained as long as the contract-holders have been in occupation for at least four months. However, as it stands, a converted fixed-term contract which goes periodic after 1st December 2022 will require six months’ notice. We’re told Welsh Government are currently looking into this, so it’s possible that two months’ notice will be retained when it goes periodic after 1st December 2022.
We’re experts on legislation and clients for whom we manage properties will know we’re helping protect them. They can rely on us know the new laws inside out and to take the best actions on their behalf, giving them peace of mind. Got any questions? Get in touch today via firstname.lastname@example.org