Landmark Bill to make it simpler and easier to rent a home in Wales

Ground-breaking legislation to reform the Welsh rented housing sector has been introduced by the Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths.

The Renting Homes (Wales) Bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to be introduced during this Assembly and will help over one million people in Wales who rent their home.

The Bill will improve and simplify the arrangements for renting homes by replacing many different and complex pieces of legislation with one main piece of legislation. It will also replace the huge number of different types of tenancies and licences with just two types of contract – one for the private rented sector and one for the social rented sector.

If passed by the National Assembly for Wales, the Bill will require every landlord in Wales to provide the people renting their property with an easy-to-understand written statement of contract. This will help ensure both landlords and those renting are aware of their rights and responsibilities from the outset.

Lesley Griffiths said:

“More people than ever before rent their home – with one in three people living in rented accommodation in Wales. It is, therefore, vital we take steps to ensure our rented housing sector is fit for purpose.”

The Bill will also support people who find themselves in difficult circumstances. It will help protect victims of domestic abuse by ensuring the perpetrators can be evicted from the rental contract, without having to remove the victim. This will end the current situation whereby victims of domestic abuse can find themselves without a home through no fault of their own.

The Bill also introduces a greater level of flexibility. This will make it easier for people to rent short-term and encourage landlords to rent to new tenants who, for example, may have become homeless and are in need of a safe, secure, home they can afford. The Bill will also enable 16 and 17 year olds to rent their own property for the first time.

The Minister added:

“The time has come to make the law for renting a home in Wales clearer and easier for all.

“Reforming Wales’ rented housing sector will make a difference to over one million people in Wales and create a modern and successful rented housing sector.”

The Minister launched the Bill at Citizens Advice Bureau in Wrexham, one of the many key organisations to have pledged their support for the Bill.

Fran Targett, Director, Citizens Advice Cymru said:

“Over the last twelve months we have seen over 19,000 people come to us for help on housing issues and believe strengthening the rights of tenants is vital.

“We welcome the introduction of the Bill and look forward to further discussions with the Welsh Government to ensure that it provides the right protection for tenants as it progresses through the Assembly.”

The legislation has now been introduced into the National Assembly and the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty will deliver an Oral Statement in relation to the Bill during Plenary in the Senedd tomorrow.