In-line with those in England, it was announced Wednesday 15th September that letting agents and landlords in Wales must wait six months (as opposed to the usual 2 months notice) before they can start new possession claims, except where anti-social behaviour or domestic violence is involved.
Under the powers of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the deadline has been extended until 31 March 2021, the original deadline being 20 September 2020. Housing Minister, Julie James MS also confirmed there will be a pause on physical evictions both during the festive period and within any further local lock-down, the same as the UK Government announced recently.
The Minister in Wales also announced that, with immediate effect, tenants can be given shorter notice periods if they are involved in anti-social behaviour or domestic violence, the same as before COVID-19 regulations came into play.
A formal announcement of the change will be made along with the publication of regulations before the end of this month.
Where rent arrears have accumulated due to the Coronavirus pandemic, private rented sector tenants will soon be able to apply for a loan in Wales through the Tenancy Saver Loan Scheme, opening at the end of September 2020. The Welsh Government is providing £1.4 million to boost services that support people in Wales to manage debt problems.
Unrelated to to the pandemic, the Welsh Government is to continue with its tenancy changes with their Bill to amend the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 which aims to increase the security of tenure for tenants. The Bill will extend the no-fault notice period from two to six months, and landlords will be prevented from issuing a no-fault notice until at least six months from the date of occupancy.
The change will mean that in Wales tenants will get a minimum of 12 months’ security of tenure from the commencement of a residential tenancy contract, giving Welsh tenants greater security than anywhere else in the UK.
Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government says:
“The Coronavirus pandemic is continuing to have a significant impact on daily life and is still posing major challenges for all of us, I have therefore acted to give additional protection to renters. I am committed to ensuring we continue to protect renters whilst at the same time mitigating impacts on landlords and protecting communities from the harmful effects of ongoing anti-social behaviour.”