Understanding the 2023 Amendments to Welsh Renting Act
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is due to be amended to address issues related to handling converted and substitute contracts for tenancies before 1 December 2022. This article aims to explain the fundamental changes and their implications for landlords and provide guidance on how to proceed.
Before the amendments, there was a grey area about substitute converted contracts and whether written statements would have to be provided by 31 May 2023, even if the replacement commenced after that date.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Amendment of Schedule 12 and Consequential Amendment) Regulations 2023aims to resolve the problems related to substitute contracts and written statements. These regulations commence on 1 June 2023. All the changes discussed in this article apply only to converted contracts (tenancies that existed before December 2022 and were converted on 1 December 2022).
The new legislation introduces several changes to the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. Here are the essential amendments:
Original Converted Contract
- Paragraph 11 continues to apply, requiring landlords to provide a written statement for the original converted contract by 31 May 2023.
- A written statement suitable for converted Guild tenancies can be found in the other forms part of Tenancy Builder. Please see here for guidance.
- Guidance on creating a converted statement for non-Guild tenancies can be found here.
Change in the identity of a contract holder before 1 June 2023
- If there has been a change in the identity of the contract-holder before 1 June 2023, a written statement must be provided to the new contract-holder before 14 June 2023 (paragraph 11(1A)).
Substitute contract that has come into existence before 1 June 2023
- If a substitute contract existed between 1 December 2022 and 1 June 2023, a written statement for that substitute contract must be given before 14 June 2023 (new paragraph 11A(1)).
Substitute contract that has come into existence on or after 1 June 2023
- Schedule 12 is amended to require a written statement to be provided within 14 days, starting with the day the contract-holder is entitled to begin occupying the dwelling under the substitute contract (new paragraph 11A(2)).
Other consequential amendments
- The regulations also change other rules relating to substitute contracts before, on, or after 1 June 2023. These changes include the landlord's name and address requirements and similar provisions. The dates for compliance are aligned with the written statement dates earlier.
Implications for Landlords
Landlords should know the distinctions between original and substitute contracts introduced by these new regulations. Landlords must provide written statements to tenants according to the new rules and deadlines.
Before the amending rules, it was thought that as long as the contract holder received a written statement (whether that be by a converted statement or a substitute contract) by 31 May 2023, paragraph 11(1) of Schedule 12 would be satisfied when read together with paragraph 32 (a substitute contract is treated the same as the converted tenancy).
However, after these changes from 1 June 2023, there will be an express distinction between the original and substitute contracts; it needs to be clarified whether the replacement is sufficient. Only time and the courts will tell.
How to Proceed
To ensure compliance with the new regulations, landlords should:
- Issue a converted statement for the originally converted tenancy on or before 31 May 2023.
- A converted statement is available for download for subscribers who have previously used Guild tenancies from the other forms part of Tenancy Builder. For non Guild tenancies, guidance is available here. Under the amending rules, this is required even if a substitute contract has already been given.
- For landlords who have issued a substitute occupation contract, consider sending a copy of the signed document between 1 June and 14 June 2023 to comply with the new rules.
- For landlords without a substitute contract, follow step 1 and provide a converted statement for the original contract.
If you issued a converted contract before 1 December 2022, you only need to ensure a copy of the signed document is emailed to the contract holders by 31 May 2023.
Variation of terms by enactment
To add more paperwork, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act requires landlords to issue a written statement of variation if the Act is amended affecting terms of the contract. The statement has to be given within 14 days of the variation.
For all converted contracts (where the tenant was in occupation before 1 December 2022, whether a converted statement is given, a substitute or both), a variation statement will be required to be delivered between 1 and 14 June (but not sooner because the law doesn't exist yet, or later).
This will not be required if you have given a new occupation to new contract holders who have moved in since 1 December 2022, and it only affects converted contracts.
We have a variation template available, but it requires information to be entered. Instead, we will produce a PDF document that can be downloaded without anything needing to be entered, and it will just need to be emailed between the dates. It will only suit Guild substitute occupation contracts or converted written statements.
Landlords should know the new regulations and ensure they provide written statements to contract holders according to the new rules and deadlines. By following the guidance provided in this article, landlords can ensure compliance with the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 amendments and avoid potential issues.
The changes to the Renting Homes Wales Act in 2023 may confuse landlords. Please see this question and answer to help you understand how to comply with the new regulations.
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