Starting the Welsh Legal changes on Landlord Law – thoughts on the model tenancy agreements

March 14, 2022

WalesAs I expect many of you are aware, housing law is devolved to the Welsh Assembly.  As a result of which the housing law in England and Wales has started to diverge.

That divergence will accelerate rapidly after 15 July this year when the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will come into force.

“2016?”  You may be saying, “That’s quite a long time ago”.  Indeed, before Brexit, Covid and the Ukraine war – it seems a lifetime away.

But the changes are coming and we have to deal with them.

The Big Decision

With a fundamental change like this, we at Landlord Law have had a decision to make.  Do we embrace the changes, update the site and support landlords in Wales?  Or do we decide to retreat from Welsh law and make the site an England only information site?

Welsh landlords will be pleased to learn that we have decided to embrace the Welsh changes and go with them.  We have many Welsh members and we are not going to abandon you.

However, it is a big task.  How to deal with it?  That is something that my assistant Mark and I have been looking at.

So what will we be doing?

Well, I can’t say precisely just now as we are at the start of a rather long journey.  However, I expect us to be duplicating and re-writing many of our FAQ and articles for our Welsh members.

WalesAs now, Welsh content will be identified by the little Wales flag icon on the page (see right).

The new content will all be linked from a new Wales page – which has been created but only has one FAQ linked from it at the moment! So we are not making it live just yet.

I am also considering duplicating the checklists and having a separate set of checklists for Wales.

Mark and I will need to become really familiar with the new Welsh legislation and we are working on that.

New Tenancy Agreements for Wales

However what I need to do, as soon as possible really, is to create some new Landlord Law tenancy agreements for Wales.

The act provides for two model tenancy agreements

  • One for fixed-term tenancies and
  • One for periodic tenancies

However, unlike the model tenancy agreement in England, this is going to be mandatory.  Or rather most of the clauses in it will be mandatory.

It will also be mandatory for landlords to provide a tenancy agreement, in the proper form, to tenants, within 14 days of the tenancy starting, otherwise, tenants will be legally entitled to compensation equivalent to the rent payable for the period of time the tenant is without an agreement. 

Similar rules apply if the agreement provided is incomplete or incorrect.  Your tenants will be able to deduct this money from their rent.

Ouch!

So I need to get new agreements online for our Welsh landlords.

About the new agreements

I will be writing about this again when I have done a bit more work, but I have a few things to report.

The first is that landlords are not going to be pleased about the length of the agreements.  I have spent part of the weekend just going over them and reformatting the wording and they take up some 45 pages!  And that is before I have added any additional clauses.

The drafting is fairly good and there is a lot in the new agreements that I like.  However, I suspect that many landlords and tenants will despair when faced with them as there is such a lot of legislation referencing,  Which most people (even lawyers sometimes!) find confusing.

Most of the clauses are mandatory.  It looks as if I will be able to amend the wording so long as I do not change the sense of them.  Although I think to start with I will be changing as little as possible of the model tenancy wording (as I won’t want to risk invalidating your agreement) but just adding some extra clauses. For example, a prohibition on pets clause – which seems to be missing from the model agreement.

So that’s where I am at the moment.  

It’s probably going to take me a couple of weeks to get to grips with the new agreements and get something online for you, but I hope to have something for you reasonably soon.  So you can start using them for new tenancies.

Because all landlords (landlords of properties in Wales that is) will need to give a new contract (using the new model agreement clauses) to all existing tenants by 15 January 2023.  So you might as well start now.

Any questions?

I have set up a new ‘questions’ section on the Landlord Law members’ forum specifically for questions about the new Welsh legislation (or anything specifically for Wales) so if you have any Wales law-related questions (and you are a member) please put them there.

And watch this space for future updates.

Not a Landlord Law member?  Find out more here.
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