Further regulations needed to implement a change in the renting regime in Wales have passed through the Senedd, but it is clear there is still much more to do.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, which is now due to come into effect on 1 December this year, ‘simplifies’ the rental regime and revises its terminology. Tenants are to be called ‘contract-holders’ and their rental agreements ‘occupation contracts’.
The purpose of the latest regulations is to preserve the entitlement of tenants to refer rent variation notices to a Rent Assessment Committee, said Minister for Climate Change Julie James.
‘These regulations will provide that when existing tenancies which include such a provision convert into occupation contracts, this entitlement will carry over’, she explained.
Also published, in draft form, is The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Saving and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2022. Among other things these will ensure that where processes relating to existing tenancies (for example, possession proceedings) have already been commenced on the date at which the 2016 Act comes into force, they can be concluded in accordance the regime in place when they were started. They will also ensure that certain entitlements that exist some current tenancies (for example a request for improvement) are preserved.
James said she will be bringing forward Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Consequential Amendments to Secondary Legislation) Regulations 2022 in August. These will require the Senedd’s negative procedure, meaning they do not have to approved by the Senedd in plenary. A further written statement is promised when these regulations have been made.
Also, a revised version of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2022 is to be presented to the Senedd for approval with a plenary debate ‘being scheduled as soon after summer recess as possible’.
Even so, James promised that she would ‘shortly be making the two Commencement Orders necessary to bring the provisions of the 2016 Act fully into force on 1 December 2022. Again, I will publish a further written statement to alert Members when these have been made’.