The law has been designed to improve how we rent, manage, and live in rented homes.

The Welsh Government will implement the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (the Act) on 1 December 2022. The Act is designed to improve how everyone manages and lives in rented homes in Wales.

The Act should ensure you get consistent service from your landlord, even if you decide to move to another organisation. If you are an existing tenant, your tenancy agreement will automatically become an occupation contract from 1st December 2022. Valleys to Coast will provide you with a written statement of your occupation contract after 1 December 2022.  

There is no need for you to worry. You will still be able to live in your home, you will still pay rent, and we will still do your repairs and look after your estates and communal areas.

Contracts

There are two types of occupation contract:

  • Standard contract: This is the default contract that will mainly be used in the private rented sector. However, there are circumstances in which we will use standard contracts.
  • Secure contract: This replaces our assured tenancies and is default for local authorities and registered social landlords like Valleys to Coast (with a few exceptions).

Fitness for human habitation

This will include, for instance, electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted. In addition, rent will not be payable for any period during which the property is not fit for human habitation. However, you should first raise any concerns with your landlord and continue to pay rent. If there is a dispute, it would ultimately be for the Court to decide if your landlord has complied with the fitness obligation, and you may be required to pay back any rent owed.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Renting Homes Wales Act?

In 2016, the Welsh Government passed the Act with the aim of making it simpler and easier for landlords and tenants to rent a home in Wales. It introduces many changes that will apply to both social and private rented sectors.

What is the purpose of the Renting Homes Wales Act?

To make it simpler and easier for landlords and tenants to rent a home in Wales. It simplifies agreements and aims to improve the condition of rental homes in Wales, whilst offering greater security and certainty to tenants and landlords.

What does it mean for customers?

  • All tenants are now called contract holders and tenancies are called occupation contracts.
  • Fitness for Human Habitation: Landlords must ensure properties are fit for human habitation (FFHH). This will include, for instance, electrical safety testing and ensuring working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted.
  • If a contract holder dies the people living in the house may have an increased right to succeed to the tenancy. The Act brings advanced succession rights. It enables both a ‘priority’ and a ‘reserve’ succession. Also, a new succession right for carers has been created.
  • A joint contract holder can be added or removed from the contract without the need to end the contract.
  • Landlords will be able to repossess abandoned properties without a court order, after serving a four week warning notice and carrying out investigations.

I am a current tenant on 1st December 2022. How will it affect me?

You will receive a written statement of your occupation contract within 6 months of the 1st of December 2022.

There is no need to sign and return the occupation contract as the changes will have already happened in law. By the summer 2023, every contract holder should have had the opportunity to meet face to face with us to discuss any queries or concerns.

I am hoping to become a Valleys to Coast Tenant after the 1st December 2022?

New tenants will also be known as contract holders and after 1  December 2022, will sign new contracts in the usual way. You  will receive a copy of the occupation contract within 14 days of taking up occupation of the property under the contract.

Will the Act mean that my rent is going to increase?

The implementation of the Act itself does not automatically mean that your rent will go up, your rent will still only increase in line with the terms of your tenancy agreement/occupation contract and the Social Rent Policy, as set by the Welsh Government.

I am a current tenant. What do I need to do?

The only thing you will need to do is read your occupation contract and familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities, when it is sent to you. As above, you will be offered an opportunity to discuss the contents of your occupation contract with us after the implementation of the Act.

I am a current tenant. Will I lose any rights?

No, you won’t lose any rights, in fact you will have enhanced rights under an occupation contract.

Why the change? Aren’t there other things that Valleys to Coast should be focusing on?

This is a change that is happening by law, brought about by the Welsh Government which we have to undertake. Ultimately the changes will be beneficial to contract holders. In the meantime, we will continue to carry out the rest of our services, as usual.

I am a current tenant. Do I have to read it and sign it?

Yes, you will need to familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities and we will be out and about knocking on doors  by the summer 2023 for your signature. Look out for notification on our website and social media for a date closer to the time. However if you have any questions before that please contact the office and ask for your community housing partner. 

I have a joint tenancy, would I have to reapply or will it stay the same?

No, you will not need to reapply, this will stay the same until you inform us that this needs to change. We will be aiming to collect a signature from both yourself and the joint tenant as part of the change.

I am a current tenant. Am I still secure in my home under the new agreement?

Yes, there is no need for you to worry. You will still be able to live in your home.

What will people be called in the future, a tenant, customer, or contract holder?

We refer to you as our customers so there will be no change there, but for your contract you will be known as a contract holder. If any legal proceedings were to take place,  you would be referred to as contract holder then also.

I do not agree with the changes or to the term ‘occupation contract, what happens now?

The changes and the terminology under the Act to include ‘occupation contract’ have been introduced by the Welsh Government. As such, unfortunately there is nothing that can be done if you do not agree with the changes.

How do I get a copy of my current tenancy agreement so I can compare it with the new one?

If you contact the office and ask for your community housing partner they will be able to send you a copy of your current tenancy agreement.

I still have questions (Link opens in new window)

If you are still unsure about what this means for you, or you have a question that is not listed, please get in touch.


Disclaimer: The above information is generic and not meant to be legal advice. If you have any questions about your specific tenancy/occupation agreement, please contact Valleys to Coast.