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Welsh housing reforms a “missed opportunity”

Vulnerable tenants will find it more difficult to access housing following the passing of the Welsh Government’s Renting Homes Bill, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The bill introduces major changes to the way that rented housing operates in Wales. The RLA says that during the passage of the bill the Government missed an opportunity to improve access to accommodation for vulnerable tenants.

Prior to the bill tenants in private rented housing had to be offered a minimum of six months residency when they began their contract. The Renting Homes Bill originally planned to abolish this, known as the ‘six month moratorium’.

Explaining the decision, the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths AM noted that the moratorium prevented landlords “from offering tenancies to people they deem to be high risk.” She said also that this was a situation which concerned her “greatly.”

Having completed its passage through the assembly, the Government reversed its decision, which by its own admission will make it more difficult for vulnerable tenants to access rented housing.

With the bill now having completed its passage through the assembly, the RLA is deeply concerned that the minister has refused to meet with it or any other landlord body despite repeated requests since her appointment to the housing brief.

Commenting, RLA vice chairman for Wales, Douglas Haig, said: “Ministers in Cardiff will now be implementing a set of radical changes to the private rented sector that will cause many landlords to consider if it is worth continuing in the market. At a time when we need more homes to rent this will only make it more difficult still especially for young and vulnerable people to access the homes they need.

“Given this, it is deeply concerning that the minister responsible for housing has so far failed to meet personally with bodies representing landlords to understand the true impact of the Government’s policies.

“Even at this late stage we urge the minister to find time to meet to discuss how we can work constructively to meet our shared agenda to kick out the criminal landlords, whilst supporting the vast majority of good landlords to provide the homes we need.”

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    I have to comment on this, being a landlord operating in Wales.
    I have sent an email to the Housing AM asking her to explain to me how the new legislation is going to combat the problem of 'rogue landlords'.
    As yet I have not received a reply, just an acknowledgement that they have received my email.
    This legislation will do NOTHING to combat the problem as the rogues are 'off the radar'.
    In my area of South East Wales, there are a large number of properties being rented out for cash which is subsequently not declared. How these new regulations are going to identify and make these people compliant is anybody's guess?
    I am certain that the non-compliant will not be attending the seminars in order for the Assembly to decide if a 'landlord is a fit and proper person' to rent out his or her property and also, it is unlikely that they will register each property as is required.
    Who are they to decide, it is my b****y property and as long as I am not contravening the law in any way, I fail to see what it has got to do with them anyway?
    If this debacle were taken to the European Court, it would probably be deemed to be an unlawful restriction on the human rights of the landlord!
    The author has already alluded to the situation which may result in Landlord's deciding whether it is worth continuing to rent out properties?
    It is ill thought out and places yet another burden on genuine landlords who are wholly compliant and it will not go any way to addressing the problem it set out to address.

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