Back to The Renting Home (Wales) Act

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act that will replace current housing legislation. Its purpose is to set up a single legal framework for social and private renting, enabling a ‘single social tenancy’ for Wales.

The Act will come into force on the 1st December 2022 and bring significant reform to housing law and practice in Wales.

The Act gives greater clarity on the rights and responsibilities for both our customers and for us as your landlord, through written contracts. This is currently known as a tenancy agreement. In addition, the Act will standardise tenancy agreements.

General questions

Why is it happening?
  • To make it easier to rent a home in Wales.
  • To improve the condition of rental homes across Wales.
  • To improve consistency of standards, whether you live in a home rented from a community landlord or a home rented from a private landlord.
  • To give people living in rented homes and landlords better security.

What will be changing?

  • “Tenants” will be known as “Contract Holders”.
  • “Tenancy Agreements” will become “Occupation Contracts”
  • You will have additional succession rights. This means in some circumstances, you can pass your home or contract onto other people after your death. For example, you can ask for your home to be passed onto your partner.
  • You can ask us to add someone to your contract who you want to live with as a joint contract holder. You don’t have to start a new contract to request this.

Where can I find an easy read version of the changes?

Welsh Government have produced an easy-to-read guide on what Renting Homes (Wales) means for residents.

About the new contract

When can I expect to receive my new Occupation Contract?

If you became a tenant prior to 1st December 2022, you will automatically be converted to a new Occupation contract.

You will receive your new Occupation Contract anytime between 1st December 2022 and 1st June 2023.

For new tenants (known as Contract holders) on or after 1st December 2022, you will receive a written contract within 14 days of your occupation date.

Will I receive a hardcopy or email contract?

Contracts will be provided electronically if you have given us permission to issue your contract in this way. If you haven’t given us permission, but would like to receive your contract electronically, please get in contact with us. Otherwise we will be sending you a paper copy.

Will I have to sign the contract?

We recommend existing residents sign the contract, however you don’t have to.

What happens if I don’t sign my new Occupation Contact, previously called a tenancy agreement?

You don’t have to sign your new Occupation Contract. However, we do encourage you to sign it. Please keep your copy in a safe place, so you know where to find it.

What happens to existing tenancies?

Under the new law ‘Occupation Contracts’ will replace existing tenancies.

There are two main types of Occupation Contract, standard and secure.

Standard contracts will replace assured shorthold tenancies which are currently used mainly in the private rented sector, and secure contracts will replace the secure and assured tenancies used mainly in the social rented sector.

On 1st December 2022, all existing Tenancy Agreements will automatically convert to an occupation contract, we have a six-month period from this date to issue you will your new Occupation Contract.

What is the main difference between ‘priority’ and ‘reserve’ successors?

A priority successor is usually a spouse or civil partner.

Reserve successors can be a family member/carer (living at the property for 12 months prior to the contract-holder’s death).

Both Priority and Reserve successors must have no other home to occupy at the time of death and must be 18+ years old to hold the contract when they succeed.

If there is more than one person eligible to succeed, a Priority successor will have priority over a Reserve successor.

Will the Act change my rent?

No, the Act will not affect your rent but it does mean that Melin will have to give you two-months’ notice for any rent increase.

What will happen if I stop paying my rent?

If a contract-holder stops paying rent, Melin Homes can serve a possession notice on the basis you have breached your contract (which has a one-month notice period).

How much notice do I have to give if I want to end my tenancy (contract)?

The notice period is four weeks, this starts the days after the day on which you give us notice.

Is there anything I need to do?

  • Please ensure all your contact details and the names of everyone who lives at your home are up to date. It would help us if you can let us know your preferred method of contact and if you consent to receiving your Occupation Contract (tenancy agreement) electronically.
  • When you receive your Occupation Contract, please read it and familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities.
  • From 1st December 2022 our residents should use these forms to make changes to their contract – please follow this link to the Welsh Government webpage.

Regarding antisocial behaviour (ASB)

What do the changes mean for people who are causing antisocial behaviour?

If a contract-holder breaches the antisocial behaviour term of the contract, Melin Homes will still be able to apply for civil injunctions and serve a possession notice and commence court proceedings if needed. The contract-holder can also be held responsible for the behaviour of anyone else who lives in or visits the home.

The antisocial behaviour term of the contract can include; excessive noise, verbal abuse, physical assault, It also includes domestic abuse (including physical, emotional and sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse).

Regarding joint tenants

What about joint tenants: will anything change under the new law?

The Act will make it easier to add or remove someone from a joint contract, without the need for the contract to end for everyone.

All contract-holders will be given a written statement of the occupation contract.

Questions about Fitness For Human Habitation (FFHH)

What does the Fitness For Human Habitation part of the Act mean for me?

Fitness for Human Habitation (FFHH) means that all landlords must ensure their properties are fit for people to live in them. They must ensure they are safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.

The Welsh Government have issued more detail around the 29 matters and circumstance for FFHH which you can find by visiting their website.

A contract-holder will not be liable to pay rent for any period during which the property is deemed to be unfit, and a landlord will not be able to issue a Landlord’s Notice, or break clause if they are not in compliance with the Fitness requirements.

If a contract-holder believes that a property is unfit, but we do not agree it would ultimately be for the court to decide whether a property is unfit based on the standards set out in the Regulations.

A court claim would be made the same way as you would currently make a disrepair claim.

How does the FFHH affect the safety in my home?

Under the Act we must ensure you are provided with a valid:

  • Gas Safety Certificate
  • Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR)
  • Carbon monoxide alarm

These requirements will apply to all new contracts which begin on or after 1st December 2022. For existing tenancies which will convert to occupation contracts on 1st December 2022.

We have a period of 12 months from 1st December 2022 to undertake the EICR to avoid the property becoming unfit for human habitation.

What are the rules regarding smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms?

Smoke alarms

We must ensure that, during each period of occupation, on each storey of the property there is a smoke alarm which is:

  1. in repair and proper working order;
  2. connected to the property’s electrical supply;
  3. linked to every other smoke alarm in the property which is connected to the electrical supply. Whilst it is not a requirement that every smoke alarm at a property is connected to the property’s electrical supply, at least one smoke alarm on each storey of the property must be.
Carbon monoxide alarms

From the 1st December we must ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is fitted and working properly in each room which contains a gas appliance, an oil fired combustion appliance or a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.

If I think my home isn’t Fit For Human Habitation (from 1st December 2022) what should I do?

If you have any concerns, please get in touch with us. All the ways you can contact us can be found there.

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