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Landlord Legal Issues - May 2022

Landlord & tenant lawyer, Tessa Shepperson of www.landlordlaw.co.uk answers your questions

Q. live in Kent but rent out a small flat in Cardiff to tenants who have been there since 2001. I have read that there are going to be changes in the tenancy law in Wales. As these are longstanding tenants, do I have to do anything?

A. Yes. You should already be registered with Rent Smart Wales (www.rentsmart.gov.wales). If you are managing the property yourself, you also need to be licensed – which involves doing a training course and paying a higher fee. If you are not licensed, the property must be managed by a letting agent licensed in Wales.

If you are not property registered and (if appropriate) licensed, you risk being prosecuted and fined. This has been the case since November 2015.

There are also big changes to tenancy law and on 15 July the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (the Act) will be coming into force. From that date, instead of an assured shorthold tenancy (which will no longer exist in Wales) your tenant (who after 15 July will be known as a ‘contract holder’) will have a ‘standard occupation contract’. Which will be subject to the different and complex rules set out in the Act.

For example, the Act is bringing in mandatory terms in tenancy agreements (after 15 July to be known as ‘occupation contracts’) and you will be expected to give your tenants a new ‘occupation contract’, which complies with the new rules, by 15 January 2023 – otherwise penalties will apply.

As you are based in England and only have the one property, it may be best to put your property in the hands of a reputable Welsh letting agency and let them manage it for you. At least during this difficult transition period.

Q. My student tenants are going to stay for another year, and we have signed a new tenancy agreement. Do I need to serve them with a section 21 notice to end the existing tenancy first?

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