Renting Homes (Wales) Bill gets tenant scrutiny

The National Assembly, Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee chair Christine Chapman AM whose committee will scrutinize the bill, organised a series of round table discussions with tenants from all the primary markets impacted by the Renting Homes (Wales) bill.

Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty introduced the Renting Homes (Wales) bill into the National Assembly on the 9th February 2015. The bill is the culmination of many years work to simplify housing law in Wales and compliments the Housing (Wales) Act that received royal assent last year.

The event held at the National Assembly for Wales invited tenants to sit and discuss the bill with the committee in a friendly social gathering. All tenants expressed their support for the general principles and aims of the bill, but also their concerns about various elements.

Clair Blakeway, who will be next year’s Cardiff student union president, raised the suggestion of having a landlord duty to respond to repair requests within a specific timescale, while Valarie Greenway raised concerns about how the bill should better protect residents from people in the private rented sector who commit acts likely to commit harm or distress to fellow tenants. Video presentations of Claire, Steffan and Valerie and others are here.

Representatives of Welsh Tenants from the network of tenant and resident associations were also in attendance to present their views to members. Chair of the welsh Tenants Sonia Benbow-Jones said that she was delighted that so many cross party committee members took the time to listen to tenants views. She also added that it was good to see young confident renters articulate their views to their Assembly members and the committee.

The key components of the bill have been previously reported here. Some of these include:

  • changing the legal framework for renting a home i.e. Model Contracts
  • secure contract based on the current local authority secure tenancy
  • standard contract based on the current assured shorthold tenancy
  • addressing serious anti-social behaviour and dealing with domestic abuse
  • a more flexible approach to joint tenancies
  • abandonment of the property by a tenant
  • renting by young people
  • standardising succession rights
  • standardising eviction for rent arrears
  • requiring landlords to ensure that homes are fit for habitation and
  • the removal of the 26 weeks moratorium

If passed, the bill will enable the Welsh Government to replace the array of confusing and complex areas of housing law with a clearer and simpler legal framework for tenants and landlords.

If you require further information about the proposals, the Welsh Tenants will be pleased to receive invitations to discuss the impacts. Please ask for Steve Clarke.

A special edition of the Homes for Wales Bulletin providing a summary is here

The Renting Homes (Wales) Bill as tabled in the National Assembly for Wales with the Explanatory Memorandum and supplementary reports can be found here


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