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.”