The Welsh Government has delayed implementation of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 until 1 December 2022.
The provisions of the 2016 Act had been due to come into force on 15 July 2022.
In a written statement Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change said: “I have over recent months received representations from landlords, and particularly social landlords, who have requested that implementation of the Act be delayed.
“As such, and in the light of the unprecedented pressures they face, including Covid recovery and supporting those who are fleeing the war in Ukraine, I have decided to postpone implementation of the Act until 1st December 2022.”
Ms James added: “Wholesale reform of the type that the Renting Homes (Wales) Act is bringing about happens only very rarely - perhaps once in a generation. I want to do all I can to ensure landlords have adequate time to make the necessary preparations to comply with the requirements of the Act.
“I appreciate that this delay, relatively short though it is, will be a source of frustration to some of our partners, especially those who are anxious to see the enhanced protections for tenants the Act will deliver.
“I share those frustrations, but I recognise that preparing new occupation contracts and ensuring that properties meet the fitness standards set out in the legislation are major undertakings, particularly for those landlords responsible for a large number of properties and tenants. I also accept that landlords from both private and public sectors, as well as letting agents and other stakeholders, would benefit from additional time to familiarise themselves with the various pieces of subordinate legislation – the final tranche of which are due to be made in July – before commencement.”
Ms James said: “I fully acknowledge the disruption that moving from the old familiar system to a brand new legislative framework is causing for landlords across Wales, particularly in a period where we are still having to deal with the aftershocks of the pandemic and where we are doing all we can to welcome to Wales people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
“I am, though, absolutely certain that that this reform will bring huge long-term benefits to landlords and to those renting their homes.”
Lee Russell, housing management and property litigation partner of law firm Devonshires, said: “We’re pleased that the Welsh government has been in listening mode and have carefully considered the concerns landlords have had about the timetable for the changes. Welsh landlords will be breathing a sigh of relief that there is now more time to prepare. However, now is not the time for landlords to be complacent – they will be wise to keep up the good work in readiness for the new implementation date in December.”
Cathrine Grubb provides a summary of the changes being brought about by the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, the biggest overhaul of housing law in Wales for decades.