New rules proposed by the Welsh government will lead to landlords in Wales being required to meet a variety of standards in order to ensure that their rental properties are fit for human habitation.
The new regulations have been proposed as part of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. They aim to ensure that landlords and property investors make sure that their rental properties have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as to ensure that the correct electrical safety testing is carried out at least once every five years.
The regulations outline 29 different areas that landlords are required to monitor and the start of, and during a tenancy. These range from issues such as damp and mould to checking for the presence of asbestos and other artificial fibres. Property owners must also look out for signs of carbon monoxide, lead, fuel gas and electrical hazards.
Other areas of consideration include excess cold and heat and the ability of intruders to enter the property. Sanitation and drainage, water supplies, noise and domestic hygiene and pest and waste control are also key issues.
In order to ensure tenant safety and that the property is fit for habitation, landlords must be mindful of crowding and space, lighting and fall risks.
If a property is deemed unfit for residents to live in, the tenant will have the right to seek a court order demanding that the landlord to remedy the problem.
The communities and children’s secretary for the Welsh government, Carl Sargeant announced a consultation into the new regulations. He said: ‘Quality homes are crucial to people’s well-being. We all know poor living conditions affect a person’s physical and mental health. Poor housing conditions such as overcrowding, damp, and cold have been linked to respiratory diseases as well as illnesses such as eczema and hypothermia. Housing should go beyond putting a roof over people’s heads.’
He continued: ‘Everyone should be entitled to live in an environment that is as safe and healthy as possible. There is a need for us to address poor housing conditions, alongside our ambition to raise standards generally. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 replaces various, complex pieces of existing legislation with one clear legal framework. This includes the landlord’s duty within the act to ensure a dwelling is fit for human habitation.’