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Rental contracts for buy to let properties in Wales are set to become a minimum of 12 months if the Welsh housing minister has her way.
Welsh housing minister Julie James is planning to extend the notice period for ‘no fault’ evictions in Wales, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
Under Section 173 landlords currently cannot repossess properties in the first six months of tenancy. However, James is further proposing to extend the minimum notice period from two to six months.
This move would effectively mean that landlords cannot take their property back for at least a year, meaning that the minimum tenancy period would really be 12 months.
It is also understood by the RLA that the government is planning these changes without reforming possession routes for landlords who have legitimate reasons to repossess their properties within that 12 months.
The Welsh government is now due to consult on whether to increase the minimum notice period of Section 173.
Residential Landlords Association vice chair and director for Wales Douglas Haig spoke out, saying: ‘This is a scandalous move that is essentially introducing 12 months contracts by default.
‘Creating a situation where a property cannot be repossessed within the first six months and then introducing a further six-month notice period could cause huge problems for landlords.
‘They will be left powerless when it comes to problem tenants, who will be legally allowed to stay in the property for a year. If tenants are not paying rent, huge arrears could build up in this time.’
He continued: ‘We will be warning the government that this move could cause serious damage to landlord confidence and the availability of homes to rent in Wales, at a time when demand continues to increase.
‘The government needs to ensure that landlords with a genuine need to regain possession of their properties are able to do so.’