What should Welsh letting agents expect in 2024?

5 January 2024

The last two years saw a lot of change for letting agents, landlords, and tenants in Wales. Here’s a breakdown of what's to come in 2024.

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 came into force in 2022 and saw the “biggest change to housing law in decades”, with letting agents and landlords still getting to grips with new legislation and requirements. 

From education to upgrades, here is everything Welsh agents need to know to thrive in 2024.

This article includes:

A summary of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act

The Renting Home (Wales) Act 2016 aimed to make the renting process in Wales more straightforward. Since 1 December 2022, tenancies are called “occupation contracts” and tenants are now “contract holders”. 

Other key things to remember are:

  • There are two types of occupation contracts: secure contracts for social housing, or standard contracts for private landlords.
  • Section 21 has now been replaced with Section 173, which extends the minimum notice period for “no-fault” evictions to six months for one-year agreements.
  • Landlords are obligated to make sure their homes are “fit for human habitation” with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, gas safety certificates, and electrical reports.

Educating Welsh Landlords on new legislation

Tenancy contracts changed to a minimum 12-month commitment in 2023, as part of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, which gives letting agents the opportunity to educate and reassure landlords during this locked-in period about legislation changes and compliance regulations. 

2024 bringing many changes for landlords, including new compliance requirements it will be important to communicate and educate landlords so they feel confident with these new changes.

Ricky Purdy, Director of Residential Lettings at Dawsons based in South Wales, is experiencing positives when educating landlords. He says letting agents have the opportunity to become a “fountain of knowledge” to landlords. “Once they understand the benefits of maintaining or being a landlord” during their locked-in contract period of the tenancy, they’re more likely to stay within the market.

Listen to Ricky Purdy in our on-demand webinar: What English agents can learn from Scotland and Wales

New licensing scheme for visitor accommodation

Following a consultation in 2022, the Welsh parliament plans to bring in a new registration and licensing scheme for holiday lets. 

The aim of the scheme is to "enhance the visitor experience and visitor safety expectations in Wales", and will include a register of all the visitor accommodation available across the country. The register will "include details on who is operating in the sector, where they are operating, and how they are operating."

Aims to end homelessness in Wales

A white paper will be released in early 2024 setting out proposals to reform the existing core of homelessness legislation and the role of the Welsh public services in preventing homelessness.

The Welsh Government plans to strengthen homelessness legislation in 2024 by including information about no-fault evictions and supporting private landlords’ needs to minimise at-fault evictions.

In its Draft Budget for 2024-25, the Welsh government proposed £120 million in funding to invest in homelessness prevention. This will be provided to local authorities to assist in move-on, integration and prevention of homelessness in 2024-25. Following consultation on the Draft Budget ending on 16 January 2024, a white paper will be published later on in the year providing further details.

With 11,000 homeless people in Wales living in privately owned B&B accommodation, the Government is also in the process of exempting local authorities’ use of B&Bs to meet the needs of homeless people from the new occupation contract rules.

Fairer Rents in Wales in 2024

In a green paper published in September 2023, the Welsh government sought evidence and feedback about the current state of the private rented sector in Wales, including availability and affordability issues. 

The annual price of a privately rented property in Wales increased by 4.2% from February 2022 to February 2023, according to the ONS. This increase, along with the cost of living and energy crisis may potentially cause issues with arrears or difficulty paying rent.

There is no universally accepted definition of ‘Fairer Rents’. However, the green paper states that for rent to be fair, the government needs to “be aware of the economic challenges of the housing market, the financial sustainability of the rented sector and the real costs of living in a home in a specific place in Wales”.

The government has suggested introducing rent controls to the private rented sector to promote investment and more supply of properties within the market. This ties in with the Leasing Scheme Wales, which aims to achieve security for tenants and confidence for landlords through incentives for property owners who lease their homes to local authorities.

Feedback for the green paper is now closed. Agents should look out for more news in 2024, when the Welsh Government is expected to come forward with a white paper setting out concrete proposals to deliver on its commitment to set out “proposals for a right to adequate housing including fair rents and new approaches to making home affordable for those on local incomes”

Decarbonising Properties in Wales

As a target to achieve net-zero emissions from Welsh homes by 2050, the government has announced a plan to decarbonise private properties.

The decarbonising properties project will be similar to the government’s Optimised RetroFit Programme, providing funding to install heat pumps, battery storage and solar panels to make social housing more energy-efficient. 

The government is exploring a project to support private landlords to decarbonise their property through grant funding if it is registered with Leasing Scheme Wales so it does not affect affordable, privately rented properties. 

“The new programme is expected to support the social, owner occupier and private rented sectors” says Jane Hutt, Minister for Social Justice in Wales. “It is expected to be accessible to all, including those in the ‘able to pay’ category, but include an emphasis on funding the worst homes first, including those in fuel poverty”.

New regulations for Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS)

Social landlords in Wales will have to meet new standards to ensure that all homes are energy-efficient, sales, secure and affordable. By 2034, all homes must be:

  • In a good state of repair
  • Safe and secure
  • Affordable to heat and have minimal environmental impact
  • Comfortable and promote well-being

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Further reading