Agenda Item No. 5
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION): 7 JANUARY 2015
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 15 DECEMBER 2014
C2587 RENTING HOMES (WALES) BILL (HBMCS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) –
Cabinet was updated on the contents of the proposed Renting Homes (Wales) Bill.
The Renting Homes White Paper was published by the Welsh Government in 2013 and set out proposals for improvements to the law for renting homes. The changes proposed in the White Paper were designed to replace what was currently a confusing and complex area of law with a clearer, simpler and more straightforward legal framework. Primarily the changes related to tenancy agreements or the contracts in place between landlords and tenants.
The White Paper was subject to consultation during 2013. Responses to the Welsh Government were broadly positive, with 95% of respondents supporting changing the legal framework for renting homes in Wales.
The proposals in the White Paper were being progressed by the Welsh Government in the form of the Renting Homes (Wales) Bill.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Bill was expected to be considered by the National Assembly for Wales in 2015. If passed by the Welsh Assembly, the changes may take effect in late 2015 or early 2016.
The foundations of the Welsh Government's proposals were based on the Renting Homes White Paper that was written by the Law Commission. The Renting Homes Bill, if introduced, would include two types of tenancy or rental contracts that would apply to all rented homes, whether they were rented by a Local Authority, Registered Social Landlord or private landlord:
The two types of rental contract were:
A Secure Contract.
A Standard Contract
Organisations that represented the private rented sector rose concerns about the proposed Bill during the consultation process. The Council, in its wider strategic housing role, would work with landlords to assist and support them to meet the requirements of the Bill.
The proposals to reform tenancy law would not fundamentally alter the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords from those that currently existed; rather, they were designed to create a simpler, more logical and clearer legal framework to replace the complexity of current law.
It was proposed that all current housing tenancies would convert automatically to one of the two new types of rental contract on a set date. This would affect all tenancies in place in the Vale of Glamorgan, including those managed by the Council, Registered Social Landlords, private landlords and letting agents. The Welsh Government indicated that they did not consider it necessary from a legal perspective for all tenants to sign up to new rental contracts.
The Welsh Government had drafted the secure and standard contracts, along with accompanying guidance notes. The consultation on the content, format and layout of these documents ended on 14 October, 2014.
This was a matter for Executive decision
(1) T H A T the proposed changes contained within the Renting Homes (Wales) Bill be noted and the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) for information.
(2) T H A T further Cabinet reports be submitted in respect of the options available to the Council in implementing the changes required to meet the requirements of the Bill.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To inform all Members and to ensure they are aware of the implications of the proposed Bill.
(2) To enable Cabinet to make informed decisions on any required changes to policy.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 15 DECEMBER 2014