New legislation for agents and landlords in Wales

Agents and landlords who operate in the private rental sector in Wales are about to be faced with a number of challenges as Welsh Government introduces a raft of new legislation. The aim is to give tenants easier access to the sector and more security of tenure.

From September 1st 2019, agents and landlords will be prohibited from charging tenants certain fees when granting, renewing or continuing a tenancy. Holding deposits equivalent to one weeks rent will be permitted, however they must be refunded to tenants within strict timescales. There will be very few instances where an agent or landlord can make a charge to a tenant. A consultation will take place during the summer and decisions will be made on what the exceptions will be for permitted charges to tenants.

Letting agents in Wales fear that this legislation will lead to small independent agents exiting the market as, without this income stream, it is likely that they will be unable to continue to trade. Letting and managing agents are likely look to recoup part of their losses through their landlord fees. As a consequence, landlords will then be forced to recoup their losses by increasing rents.

A second challenge for private landlords comes further down the line as the First Minister has made a commitment to legislate to improve security of tenure in the private rental sector. This will be done by removing the way that tenancies are currently ended and the removal of the Section 21 Notice requiring possession, will be the first step.

The minister for housing and local government, also confirmed in the Senedd that Welsh Government will be working closely with the sector to revise the process of ending tenancies through the courts. They have however, acknowledged that there will be no changes to the current process until such time as court processes are streamlined and become more user friendly.

Angela Davey, Head of pa black lettings, commented, “As a member of the operational board of ARLA Propertymark and as Welsh representative for our governing body, I am very much involved in the process which will shape the future of the private rental sector in Wales.

I am hopeful that as a valuable source of housing in the UK, the private rented sector will go through this reform and remain strong, vibrant and accessible to all.”

To find out more or for advice on the new legislation contact Angela Davey angela.davey@pablack.co.uk 
 
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