Renting Homes Wales Act: New Legislation Guidance for Welsh Landlords and Tenants December 2022

welsh flag blowing in the wind.

This article provides guidance on the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, in force from 1 December 2022.

Why is the Renting Homes Wales Act 2016 needed? 

To make things easier for landlords, tenants and agents – replacing various complex pieces of legislation with a clear legal framework. The improvements include: 

  • Everyone must use a written contract – Providing clarity on each party’s rights and responsibilities
  • Freely available ‘model’ contracts – Expected to be used by most landlords, improving understanding of the processes, rights and obligations
  • Additional protection for vulnerable tenants – Clarification on the minimum safety standards for properties, so tenants aren’t afraid to raise repair issues
  • New abandonment procedures – Making it easier for landlords to get abandoned properties back
  • Changing joint account-holders – Tenants (contract-holders) can leave and join joint tenancies without new contracts being required

New terminology for Renting Homes Wales

Assured Shorthold Tenancy or tenancy agreements will be replaced by standard occupation contracts, the default contract type for the private rented sector. 

Written tenancy agreements will be referred to as a written statement of the occupation contract.

Tenants will now be referred to as contract-holders.

Local authority or social landlords will now be referred to as community landlords.

Renting Homes Wales: Summary of changes

Welsh tenancy agreements will now be called “standard occupation contracts” instead of ASTs, and tenants will now be called “contract-holders”.

A copy of the contract, known as the “written agreement“, must be issued to the contract-holder within 14 days of the start date, or sooner. 

The terms of a standard occupation contract are split into four areas: key matters, fundamental, supplementary, and additional terms. 

Providing the contract-holder with an inventory within 14 days of the start date will be a requirement (under a supplementary term) unless the contract-holder agrees to remove this term.

All processes related to standard occupation contracts, such as rent increases, change of landlord or ending a contract, must be done through the correct government notice form.

All ASTs will automatically convert to a standard occupation contract on 1 December 2022, but the landlord has 6 months to issue a written statement (copy of the contract).

The new Act allows joint contract-holders to join or withdraw from a contract without ending the contract or needing a new one, as long as the correct notice is provided to the landlord.

The new Act ensures all properties must be fit for human habitation and landlords must meet their safety obligations, including organising an electrical safety inspection (EICR), working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms if required.

If properties are not fit for human habitation, contract-holders can withhold rent for every day it is unfit.

Landlords can serve notice to tenants displaying anti-social behaviour and do not have to wait until the notice period (one month) expires to make a claim to court – they can do it the same day.

A fixed-term standard contract cannot be ended by notice from a landlord, unless the fixed-term contract is more than two years, and the contract has a ‘landlord’s break clause’.

When a contract holder (tenant) has breached the contract, the minimum notice period that must be given is one month.

Notice periods can be shorter if it’s a breach of anti-social behaviour or the serious rent arrears terms.

Landlords can repossess an abandoned property without a court order, after serving a four-week warning notice and carrying out relevant investigations.

What are occupation contracts?

Occupation contracts will replace ASTs. In a written format, they will be “written agreements”.

Simply put, an occupation contract is required when:

  • There is rent or some other consideration paid to the landlord
  • It allows at least one individual to occupy the dwelling as their home, and
  • It is between a landlord and at least one individual.

Standard occupation contracts are the default contract for private landlords. Secure contracts will be used by community landlords (the new term used for local authority and social landlords).

Who can be a landlord in an occupation contract? 

A landlord is a person that is entitled to allow an individual to live in the dwelling. This covers “legal person” and doesn’t need to be an individual, so Limited Companies are allowed.

Who can be a contract-holder in an occupation contract?

Contract-holders (formerly known as tenants) must be named individuals, not a company. Any contract with a company would be a commercial contract. 

Issuing occupation contracts

Note: Different rules apply to converted contracts.

Occupation contracts must be:

  • In writing (this means written out as a “written statement”, so a typed version is sufficient). Either a hard copy or a digital version is fine.
  • Issued within 14 days of the occupation date, including the day of issue (at the latest).

Note: A written contract can be issued as soon as the parties agree on the terms, so issuing it before move-in is sufficient. 

The above also applies when a new joint contract-holder begins to live in a rental.

If contract-holders are not given the written statement within 14 days, they are entitled to compensation from the landlord. This also applies to updated written statements.

Notice of address: RHW2 form

The contract-holder must also be provided with an address to send documents intended for the landlord within 14 days of occupation. This can be an email address instead of a postal address if preferred.

Note: Our Support Team will take of this for landlords on a lettings plan.

This should be issued using the RHW2 form, a simple template found here.

Exclusions from occupation contracts

The following are specifically excluded from being an occupation contract:

  • If the tenant or licensee is under 18 (or if there are multiple tenants, all of them are under 18)
  • Agricultural tenancies or farm business tenancy (under Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 / Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995)
  • A protected or statutory tenancy under Rent Agriculture) Act 1986 
  • Long tenancies (over 21 years) 
  • Armed forces accommodation
  • Direct access accommodation
  • A protected or statutory tenancy under Rent Act 1977 
  • Business tenants under Part 2 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954)

The following are not deemed occupational contracts but can be if the landlord wants them to be. They just have to give notice (state it) at the time the contract is made: 

  • Holiday accommodation
  • Lodger accommodation (shared with the landlord)
  • Temporary expedients (for trespassers/squatters)
  • Where no rent is payable (where the tenant works as a form of payment)

Renting Homes Wales: Contract Terms

The terms of an occupation contract are largely similar to an AST, but are laid out differently to categorise and standardise them and make them easier to understand. 

There are four types of terms in an occupation contract: 

Key matters

Key matters must be included in all standard occupation contracts. All of these terms are already included in AST agreements and are easy to understand.

  • The address of the property
  • The occupation date (the date from which the contract-holder can occupy the property)
  • The amount of rent
  • The rental periods (e.g weekly or monthly)
  • Period or fixed term
  • Length and start/end of the fixed term
  • Any period where the contract-holder is not entitled to occupy the property

Fundamental terms

As stated in The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

Fundamental terms cover the most important legal aspects of the contract.

The following fundamental terms cannot be omitted or amended from the model agreement, meaning they are part of every standard occupation contract.

  • The requirement to use a deposit scheme (if a deposit is taken)
  • Anti-social behaviour and other prohibited conduct
  • Variation of periodic or fixed-term standard contracts
  • Permissible reasons to end a contract
  • Possession claims
  • Restriction on giving landlord’s notice for possession under specific grounds
  • Death of a sole contract-holder
  • Note: Editorial Changes are allowed, meaning the wording of a term can be changed from the Welsh government’s model agreement, as long as the substance of the term remains the same.

The following fundamental terms can be amended or omitted, as long as both parties agree and the modification improves the position of the contract-holder. 

Supplementary terms

As stated in The Renting Homes (Supplementary Provisions) (Wales) Regulations 2022

Supplementary terms deal with more practical day-to-day matters. These terms can be omitted or amended from the model agreement if agreed by all parties, however, the default position is that they are unmodified. 

Unlike fundamental terms, modifying a supplementary term does not have to improve the position of the contract-holder, but cannot be incompatible with any fundamental terms of the contract. This just means that the terms can’t be changed to go against the law. 

Any removal or change to fundamental or supplementary terms must be identified in the written statement by striking out the words changed (and adding any words agreed).

Examples of supplementary terms include: 

  • Use of the dwelling by the contract-holder (such as notifying the landlord of required repairs, or allowing a lodger without consent)
  • Changes to the dwelling (decoration and alterations)
  • Security of the dwelling during unoccupied periods
  • The contract-holder’s obligations at the end of the contract
  • Providing an inventory to the contract-holder

Additional terms

These terms address any other specifically agreed matters, such as pets or garden maintenance. As with all terms, they must be fair and reasonable.  

Altering or changing a contract

Changing the rent

If a landlord intends to change the rent, a notice of variation of rent must be given (RHW12).

Note: Our Support Team will take of this for landlords on a lettings plan.

Under a periodic standard contract, the contract-holder must be given two months’ notice. The first time this is done can be anytime, however, after the first time, there must be at least a one-year gap between changes.

The Act does not cover changing the rent in a fixed-term standard contract, however, this is totally possible if the landlord and contract-holder agree.

Changing other terms

Any changes to the contract must be fair, reasonable and legal. If terms are changed in a contract, the contract-holder must be given the following within 14 days of the contract changes: 

  • A written statement of the terms that have changed; or
  • A new written statement of the entire contract with the newly changed terms

Note: Our Support Team will take of this for landlords on a lettings plan.

This is not required if it is just a rent change, as long as the RHW12 is issued.

Renting Homes Wales: Sharers and joint contract-holders

The new Act allows contract-holders to join or withdraw from a contract without ending the contract or needing a new one.

Leaving a periodic contract

Joint contract-holders can leave a periodic contract without the landlord’s express consent if they provide a withdrawal notice. This notice must include the intended withdrawal date (the day they want to leave) and this date must be at least one month from the day the notice is given. 

The contract-holder must also inform the remaining joint contract-holders with a written warning of their departure. The contract-holder must provide the landlord with a copy of this when they give their withdrawal notice. 

Once received, the landlord must give their own written warning to the remaining joint contract-holders. After the withdrawal date, the departing contract-holder will have no contractual obligations and will no longer be liable for rent. 

If more joint contract-holders want to leave after someone withdraws, they can do so by following the same process. 

Leaving a fixed contract

For a joint contract-holder to leave a fixed term, there must be a specific contract-holder break clause in the agreement. 

This clause should advise the contract-holder to follow the same procedure outlined for periodics above, including issuing a written withdrawal notice to the landlord.

Once received, the landlord must give their own written warning to the remaining joint contract-holders. After the withdrawal date, the departing contract-holder will have no contractual obligations and will no longer be liable for rent. 

Adding new joint contact-holders

Contract-holders can request another person be added as a joint-contract holder. The request must be a written notice, signed by all current contract-holders and the new contract-holder. If the landlord has already agreed, they should sign it too. 

The notice must include the date that the new contract-holder joints the contract, from which they will be jointly liable with the rest of the occupiers.

The landlord must issue the new contract-holder a written statement of the contract within 14 days of occupation.

Considerations when adding a joint contract-holder

  • If they have been your contract-holder previously and, if so, whether they complied with contractual obligations
  • If they are suitable based on the typical checks required (referencing)
  • If they are part of the same family, and the nature of the relationship
  • If in time, they are likely to become the sole contract-holder due to, for instance, the elderly age of the current contract-holder

Getting consent

Contract-holders also have the right to request consent for reasonable requests, such as making alterations to the dwelling, as long as they follow the below process.

  • Request made in writing from the contract-holder to the landlord
  • Landlord has 14 days to request additional information to help with the request (the contract-holder can deny this if the request is unreasonable) 
  • Landlord has one month from the initial date or additional information date to make a decision and send it in writing to the contract-holder
  • If the landlord consents subject to conditions, these conditions must be included in the written notice of consent
  • If the landlord refuses to consent, the contract-holder can request a written statement of reasons, which must be provided within one month of the request

Landlords cannot unreasonably refuse consent.

Further guidance: GOV.WALES How Welsh housing legislation is changing: guidance for landlords and agent

General circumstances to reasonably withhold consent

The status of the contract (whether any party has taken steps to end the contract)
The dwelling (e.g. the size and suitability of the dwelling for the transaction being proposed)
The circumstances of the contract-holder and other occupiers

The circumstances of the landlord

Consent is automatically given if: 

  • The landlord doesn’t respond within the relevant time period
  • If consent is given subject to conditions, they are not provided in the written notice of consent
  • A written statement of reasons isn’t given within the timeframe when requested


The rules for deposits are largely the same as they were before The Act. Welsh landlords with can continue to use the TDS.

Landlords must: 

  • Register the contract-holder’s deposit within 30 days of being paid
  • Comply with the chosen tenancy deposit scheme
  • Give the contract-holder the required information

Note: Our Support Team will take of this for landlords on a lettings plan.

If there are any changes to the contract after the deposit is registered, the deposit does not need to be reprotected.

As with ASTs, the following details must be signed and confirmed within 30 days of receiving a deposit:

  • The property address
  • The deposit amount
  • The deposit scheme and their details
  • The name, address, phone number and email of the landlord/s and contract-holder/s
  • Reasons why the deposit would be kept
  • How to get the deposit back at the end of the contract
  • What to do if the landlord cannot get hold of the contract-holder or vice versa
  • What to do if there is a dispute

If a deposit is not protected

If any of the requirements above are not met, contract-holders can apply to county court which may order that: 

  • The landlords must repay the deposit to the contract-holder (could be up to 1-3 times the original amount) within 14 days
  • The landlord must pay the deposit into a custodial deposit scheme 
  • The contract-holder can stay in the property when the contract ends


Providing an inventory is now a supplementary term unless the contract-holder agrees to it being left out

This requires the landlord to provide the contract-holder with an inventory within 14 days of the occupation date. The contract-holder then has 14 days to comment or agree to it. If they do not respond in 14 days, it will be assumed agreed. If they provide comments, the landlord has 14 days to respond.

Arrange your professional property inventory here.

Renting Homes Wales: Repairs and safety rules

Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 repair obligations have now been replaced with Part 4 of the Renting (Homes) Wales Act 2016.

Landlords must keep their rental property in good repair and fit for human habitation. This includes:

  • The structure and exterior of the property
  • The installation of gas, electric and water for sanitation, heating and hot water
  • Electrical safety testing
  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Landlord’s repair obligations

Landlords are responsible for visiting the property at regular intervals, but contract-holders are also responsible for reporting repairs.

Once a landlord is aware of a need for repair, they must carry it out to a reasonable standard and timeframe. This depends on the severity of the issue, as well as the age and character of the property.

Landlords must: 

  • Make good any damage caused by carrying out the repair
  • Not expect the contract-holder to contribute cost or arrange the repair if it is not their fault
  • Give the contract-holder at least 24 hours’ notice before inspecting or undertaking repairs

Exemptions to landlord’s obligations

Landlords are not obligated to: 

  • Repair anything owed/brought to the property by the contract-holder
  • Rebuild or reinstate any part of the property destroyed for a relevant cause
  • Fix any disrepair due to the contract-holders lack of care

Access for repair

Landlords have the right to enter the property at reasonable times to undertake repairs, as long as they give the contract-holder 24 hours’ written notice. As with ASTs, contract-holders have the right to quiet enjoyment. 

Landlords will not be liable for areas of the building that they do not have the right to access. 

In emergency situations, such as a flood or fire or other severe threat, landlords can access the property without permission from the contract-holder.

Contract-holder refusing access

If a contract-holder refuses access for a landlord to carry out repairs, they are in breach of their contract. If subsequent deterioration occurs because of the contract-holders refusal, they may be liable and the landlord may be able to claim these costs on the tenancy deposit.

If a contract-holder does refuse entry, landlords should make all reasonable efforts to communicate the importance of the repairs. Send three written letters expressing this importance and keep copies.

If the contract-holder still refuses, the landlord should contact the local council for support. If the problem still persists, the landlord cannot force entry and must apply for an injunction.

Fitness for Human Habitation

There are 29 matters and circumstances that must be considered when assessing whether a property is fit for human habitation. Not all matters will make a property unfit for habitation on its own, but all landlords should aim to fix all issues they find. 

  1. Damp, mites, mould and fungus
  2. Excessive cold temperatures
  3. Excessive heat
  4. Asbestos and manufactured mineral fibres
  5. Biocides
  6. Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
  7. Lead
  8. Radiation
  9. Uncombusted fuel gas
  10. Volatile organic compounds
  11. Crowding and space
  12. Entry by intruders (lack of security)
  13. Lack of lighting
  14. Noise exposure
  15. Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
  16. Inadequate food safety and storage
  17. Inadequate personal hygiene and sanitation facilities
  18. Inadequate water supply
  19. Falls associated with baths, toilets or washing facilities
  20. Falling on surfaces
  21. Falling on stairs
  22. Falling from one surface to another (including heights)
  23. Electrical hazards
  24. Exposure to fire and smoke
  25. Flames and hot surfaces
  26. Collision or entrapment
  27. Explosions
  28. Structural collapse
  29. Position of amenities and fittings

Safety requirements

The three significant hazards are fire, electrical safety and carbon monoxide poisoning. To minimise these risks, landlords must do the following before the occupation date: 

  • Ensure there is a working, mains-powered interlinked smoke alarm on each floor
  • Ensure there is a working carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a gas appliance
  • Ensure an electrical inspection (PIT) and EICR report are carried out every five years

Electrical safety 

The electrical safety rules are the same in Wales as they are in England and Scotland, just with different legislation. 

The landlord must give the contract-holder a copy of the EICR within seven days of their occupation date. If the inspection is carried out during the contract, the landlord must provide the contract-holder with a copy within seven days of receiving the report of consequent remedial work report. 

Valid EICRs are compliant with the new law, however, Electrical Installation Certificates are not valid as the full installation must be tested and an EICR issued.

Safety requirements for converted contracts

Tenancies converted to a standard occupation contract on 1 December 2022 must be in good repair and fit for human habitation.

As long as the electrical installation is safe and there is no risk of fire, the landlord has until 1 December 2023 to arrange electrical safety testing and install smoke alarms. This exemption no longer applies once the converted contract ends.

For all contracts from 1 December 2022, there must be a carbon monoxide alarm present in each relevant room; there is no exception to this requirement for converted contracts.

Contract-holder rights in unfit properties

If a property is unfit for human habitation, the contract-holder is not liable for rent each day the property is unfit. If a dispute cannot be resolved, it can be taken to court.

A permitted occupier who suffers personal injury, or loss of or damage to personal property, as a
result of the landlord failing to comply with the property condition requirements may enforce it by
bringing proceedings in respect of the injury, loss or damage.

The Welsh government have published a protocol framework for housing disrepair claims.

Contract-holder rights and obligations

Anti-social behaviour

The contract-holder is responsible for the behaviour of everyone who lives in the building. Prohibited conduct includes:

  • Excessive noise
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical assault 
  • Domestic abuse
  • Using the property for criminal purposes

If the contract-holder breaches this term and it cannot be resolved, the landlord can issue a possession notice under Section 55, detailing all the reasons why the contract-holder is going against their obligations. 

On the same day notice is served to the contract-holder, the landlord can make a claim to court for a possession order without waiting for the notice period to expire. The landlord has six months to make a possession claim in court from the date of the notice.

The correct prescribed information form provided by the Welsh government must be used to serve notice.

Subletting (sub-occupation) and trespassing

Subletting is now referred to as sub-occupation under The Act. Contract-holders do not have a right to enter into a sub-occupation contract but can do so if the landlord agrees. This must be added as an additional term. 

If the contract-holder does sub-let the property with permission, this creates a sub-occupation contract between them and the sub-holder. The contract-holder becomes the landlord of the sub-holder, the original landlord becomes the head landlord and the original contract is the head contract.

The correct prescribed information form provided by the Welsh government must be used to serve notice even with a sub-contract.


If a person who is not a successor of the contract-holder and has no rights to the property lives in the property (for example, the contract-holder dies and that person refuses to leave) they make start having rights if the landlord accepts rent from them. If the landlord makes no effort the evict the trespasser two months after taking the first rent payment, a periodic tenancy is automatically created.

Death and succession

If a sole-contract holder dies, the contract comes to an end one month after the death, or if earlier, when the landlord is given notice of death, a notice of the death by someone authorised to inform the landlord.

This is not the case however if there is someone living at the property who is not named on the contract, but who under The Act (section 73-83) could succeed them. If this is the case, the current contract would continue, but in the name of the person succeeding the person who died.

Removal of the concept of “tenant-like manner”

Under an AST, tenants have two main obligations: to pay their rent and to treat the property in a tenant-like manner. 

Under The Act, the concept of “tenant-like manner” no longer applies. Contract-holders do still have an obligation to care for the property, but this is covered in the supplementary terms of the contract, falling under the day-to-day care of the property.

Supplementary term: Duty to take care of the dwelling

You are not liable for fair wear and tear to the dwelling or to fixtures and fittings within the dwelling but must:
a. Take proper care of the dwelling, fixtures and fittings within the dwelling and any items listed in any inventory,
b. Not remove any fixtures and fittings or any items listed in any inventory from the dwelling without the consent of the landlord,
c. Keep the dwelling in a state of reasonable decorative order, and
d. Not keep anything in the dwelling that would be a health and safety risk to you, any permitted occupier, any persons visiting the dwelling or any persons residing in the vicinity
of the dwelling.

Supplementary term: Contract-holder’s obligations at the end of the contract

When you vacate the dwelling at the end of this contract, you must:
a) Remove from the dwelling all property belonging —
i. To you, or
ii. To any permitted occupier who is not entitled to remain in occupation of the dwelling,
b) Return any property belonging to the landlord to the position that property was in on the occupation date, and
c) Return to the landlord all keys which enable access to the dwelling, which were held during the term of the contract by you or any permitted occupier who is not entitled to remain in occupation of the dwelling.

How to convert an AST to a standard occupation contract

From 1 December, all tenancies will convert to a standard occupation contract. There are no exceptions to this. The occupation date will stay the same as the original tenancy start date.

Additional guidance: GOV.WALES How to convert a tenancy agreement to an AST.

Converting tenancy terms for Renting Homes Wales

It’s unfair to expect all old tenancy terms to completely change under conversion. The conversion process strikes a balance between the required terms of new occupation contracts and allowing existing terms to be maintained.

Simply put, if an old AST term goes against the contract-holder’s best interest, it can’t be included.

  • Any tenancy terms that are incompatible with fundamental terms must be deleted or replaced with the relevant fundamental term
  • Any tenancy terms that are incompatible with supplementary terms can stay and do not need replacing
  • Any other terms in the AST that aren’t covered by the standard contract can be added to the additional terms (e.g. parking restrictions)

ASTs cease to exist from 1 December, but landlords and their respective agents have until 1 June 2023 (6 months) to issue a written statement of the converted contract.

The contract cannot be varied until the written statement is issued. The only exception is a rent change on a periodic tenancy.

Contract-holders must be informed of a new address or new contact details of the landlord within 14 days of the change.

Converted contracts must stay the same type. Periodics must remain periodics, and fixed terms must remain fixed terms. Deposits do not need to change, as long as they are protected.

Further guidance on creating converting contracts.

New prescribed forms for Renting Homes Wales

if there is a Welsh government-prescribed form, it must be used for that part of the process. Otherwise it is not enforceable. 

All notice forms can be found here.

Notice of landlord’s new address or identity.

Landlord’s notice of termination for a periodic standard contract.

Notice of landlord’s intention to end a contract due to abandonment.

Ending contracts and gaining possession

Section 21 and Section 8 notices will not be valid on Welsh contracts. New provisions for ending contracts and gaining possession are covered by The Act. 

Notice periods summary

Breach of contract: one month

Serious rent arrears (more than two months): 14 days

Antisocial behaviour: one month for breach of contract, but possession claim can begin the same day as notice

Contract-holder notice to the landlord: Four weeks

Periodic tenancy (no fault): six months (but only six months after the occupation date)

Converted periodic or fixed-term with a break clause: two months (but only 4 months after the occupation date)

Converted fixed term with no break clause: two months (but only 6 months after occupation date)

Early termination

Contract-holders can end the contract before it officially starts by giving notice earlier than the date the contract-holder is given the written statement or the occupation date.

Once the contract-holder gives an early termination notice they are no longer bound by the contract and are entitled to the return of any deposit or rent given under the contract.

Mutual agreement

It’s important to note that whether the occupational contract is periodic or fixed, the contract can end under mutual agreement between the landlord and contract-holder at any time.

Continuing occupation when a fixed-term ends

There are three options for a landlord and contract-holder when a fixed-term ends and they want to continue their occupation. Whatever option is chosen, a new written statement must be issued within 14 days of the new occupation date, which must be the day after the initial occupation end date.

For example, if the initial contract ends on 31 January, the next contract must start on 1 February.

1. Automatic default process: The contract holder remains in occupation and a new standard periodic contract is made. 

This is the same as a rolling periodic. The contract-holder must be issued a new written statement of the periodic contract. This statement must be the government’s model periodic written statement. The terms of the fixed term can still apply if they don’t contradict the new periodic contract.

2. Agree to create a new fixed term (recommended by LAP)

This can just be an updated version of the previous contract. This is the process we follow now to align with plan renewals.

3. Agree to create a new periodic

Terms can be edited and omitted (unlike the automatic default periodic that must follow the model).

Terminating a fixed-term contract

A fixed-term standard contract cannot be ended by notice from a landlord, unless: 

  • The fixed-term contract is more than two years, and
  • The contract has a ‘landlord’s break clause’.

Landlords can seek possession if the contract-holder is in breach of the contract.

When a fixed-term is ending, contract-holders can: 

  • Leave on the last day of the fixed period (by mutual agreement)
  • To continue on a statutory (automatic) periodic
  • To continue on a new periodic
  • To continue on a new fixed term

If there is a break clause, the contract-holder must give a minimum notice of 4 weeks.

Possession proceedings for breach of contract

Any landlords in a situation where they need to terminate their contract but not by mutual agreement must follow the process for possession set out in the Act.

If the contract-holder is in breach of the contract, the landlord can seek possession.

  • Serve notice to the contract-holder
  • The landlord must wait one month after serving notice to start a possession claim (in most cases)
  • The landlord has six months from serving notice to start the possession claim
  • The judge considers the claim

Possession proceedings for serious rent arrears

If the contract-holder is in rent arrears, the above breach of contract process should be followed. For serious rent arrears (at least two months’ unpaid rent).

The correct possession notice (RHW20) must be given and after 14 days and no later than 6 months, the landlord can make a possession claim to the court.

Terminating a periodic contract

Landlords cannot serve notice for the first six months of a periodic contract. The minimum notice period to end a periodic contract is also six months, giving contract-holders a guaranteed term of 12 months (unless they breach the contract).

Renting Homes Wales and serving notice

When notice must be given to the contract-holder, it must be posted or left at the property.

In addition, notice can also be provided at the contract-holder’s last known address, place of business, or anywhere else the person as specified notices can be given. 

If a notice is posted, the legal date of the notice is usually the second day after it was posted. If this day is not a business day. the legal notice day will be the next business day after.

These documents can be provided electronically (via email) if agreed upon at the beginning of the tenancy.

Requirements for serving notice

Note: converted contracts have slightly different requirements.

To serve notice, landlords must have: 

  • Have provided a valid EPC 
  • Have provided a valid gas safety certificate to the contract holder
  • Installed carbon monoxide alarms where required
  • Protected the deposit 
  • Not have asked for a prohibited payment of any kind
  • Be compliant with Rent Smart Wales registration and licensing 
  • Have an HMO licence if required
  • Issued a written statement of the contract to the contract-holder (if the landlord fails to provide this within 14 days, they must wait 6 months before serving a possession notice) 
  • Given contract-holders relevant information about their address for sending documents
  • Ensured mains-connected smoke alarms are installed and working
  • A valid EICR from an electrical inspection and provided a copy to the contract-holder 

Gaining possession of converted standard contracts

Section 21 issued before 1 December 2022

Applies to both periodic and fixed term: The notice will still be enforceable after 1 December 2022 however the court possession claim must be made by 31 January 2023 or within two months of the notice expiring (whichever is later) otherwise it is no longer valid.

No section 21 issued prior to 1 December 2022

Landlords can gain possession of the property by giving two months’ notice before making a possession claim to court (akin to the process under Section 21). However, this is now done under section 173 of The Act and using the form prescribed for this process:

  • RHW17 for periodics
  • RHW25 for fixed terms with a break clause
  • RHW38 for fixed terms with no break clause

Applies to converted periodics and fixed terms with a break clause:

  • A notice cannot be given within the first four months of the contract (starting from the original tenancy start date) 
  • The possession claim to the court must be made within two months of the notice of possession being served to be valid

Applies to converted fixed terms with no break clause: 

  • A notice cannot be given within the first six months of the contract (starting from the original tenancy start date) 
  • The notice must be given before or on the last day of the fixed term
  • Two months’ notice must be given before stating you will make a court possession claim
  • The notice cannot require possession before the last day of the fixed term

Further information: GOV.WALES Housing law is changing: guidances and resources

Requirements for serving notice on converted contracts

To serve notice on a converted contract before 1 June 2023, the landlord must: 

  • Have provided a valid EPC 
  • Have provided a valid gas safety certificate to the contract holder
  • Installed carbon monoxide alarms where required
  • Protected the deposit 
  • Not have asked for a prohibited payment of any kind
  • Be compliant with Rent Smart Wales registration and licensing 
  • Have an HMO licence if required

To serve notice on or after 1 June 2023, the landlord must also have: 

  • Issued a written statement of the contract to the contract-holders before 31 May 2023
  • Given contract-holders relevant information about their address

To serve notice on or after 1 December 2023, the landlord must also have: 

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