A controversial reform programme for the private rental sector in Wales is to go ahead from July 15 this year - despite serious misgivings from landlords and agents.
The Renting Homes Wales Act is described by the ruling administration in Cardiff as the biggest shift in housing law in decades, and will make permanent the already-applied six month tenancy notice.
It also outlaws the issuing of notice within the first six months of a tenancy, meaning that in effect there is a minimum tenancy a 12 month period.
This means that tenants in Wales will have the greatest protection from the start of their contract than in any other part of the UK.
The Act also gives protection against any retaliatory eviction should a landlord try to remove a tenant for seeking repairs to a property.
The National Residential Landlords Association is one of many bodies to raise concerns about the measure when it was being consulted upon.
NRLA policy and campaigns director Chris Norris says: “With the Welsh Government now moving forward with its plans to implement the Renting Homes Wales Act, there is still a pressing need for more clarity as to what the supporting framework of the Act looks like.
“The extent of landlords’ future obligations under this legislation also underlines how crucial it is that existing legislation be made fit for purpose before new regulations are introduced.
“While we welcome the introduction of the Act, it is vital that the supporting legislation is fit for purpose and scrutinised sufficiently. In particular, the occupation contract terms, which all landlords must use, needs to improve significantly from its original consultation draft.
“These important steps must be taken before more complex regulations are introduced by the Welsh Government over the course of this year.”
And Daryl McIntosh, policy manager at Propertymark, comments: “Communication and education will be key to the success of the new tenancy regime that the Renting Homes (Wales) Act brings.
“The changes could be problematic if agents are not well versed, and we would suggest that agents prepare well in advance of July which is something we will be supporting our members through.
“It remains to be seen how the changes to notice periods will affect the choices of both landlords and tenants as their access to flexibility is restricted.”