Issue - meetings
Renting Homes Wales Act
(a) That the Committee note the changes proposed to the way all landlords in Wales rent their properties for implementation from 1 December 2022;
(b) That the Committee has serious concerns on the removal of introductory tenancies from the policy; and
(c) That the Senior Manager review consultation previously undertaken and enquire with the WG and legal partners on whether a review of the Act was planned, and provide this information, if available to Cabinet when considering the report in November, 2022.
The Senior Manager - Housing Management introduced the report to provide an overview of the new Renting Homes Act and the changes that would be brought into effect from 1st December, 2022. The Act aimed to simplify the process of renting a home in Wales and to provide parties with more information about their rights and obligations.
The Senior Manager explained that once fully enacted, the Act would create a completely new system for residential tenancies in Wales. It was intended to entirely replace the secure, assured shorthold and assured agricultural occupancies tenancy regimes which currently operated under the Housing Act 1985 and Housing Act 1988.
In highlighting the fundamental changes within the Act, the Senior Manager advised that under the new law tenants and licensees would become ‘contract-holders’ and tenancy agreements would be replaced with ‘occupation contracts’. The Occupation Contracts would have to be set out in a ‘written statement’ and its purpose was to confirm the terms of the contract. There would be two types of contract, as follows:-
1. Secure – which Flintshire will adopt as landlord.
2. Standard Contract – Which will be mainly used in the private sector.
The implementation in Flintshire from 1st December would see any new contract holders receiving a new contract, and any existing contract holders would be entered into a period of consultation to encourage them to convert from their existing tenancies to a contract to comply with the new regulations. A series of roadshows would take place from February 2023 to explain the new Act to tenants.
Councillor Bernie Attridge raised concern around the role of the Scrutiny Committee in considering the report and providing feedback prior to the Cabinet meeting the following week. He did not feel that there was any opportunity to amend the changes proposed within the Act as it would become law from 1st December. He said that he could find no background information on consultation undertaken and asked what consultation had been carried out by the Cabinet Member and Leader of the Council through the Welsh Government (WG) on the proposed changes and was consultation carried out with the tenants ahead of the changes being brought into effect from 1st December 2022. He also raised concerns around the removal of the introductory tenancies which were in pace to the Council to remove bad tenants.
The Senior Manager said that she was not aware of the consultation process but explained that the Act became law in 2016 with WG delaying the roll out and implementation of the law until 1st December, 2022. She explained that it was an Act of law which the Council had to implement and that the consultation with residents and tenants would ensure that they understood what the changes meant. There were some positive changes within the Act, around giving tenants greater rights and holding landlords to account if property repairs were not undertaken.
The Chief Officer (Housing and Communities) advised that feedback from the Committee ... view the full minutes text for item 4