Welsh housing minister Julie James is planning to extend the notice period for ‘no fault’ evictions in Wales, according to the Residential Landlords Association.
Under Section 173 landlords cannot repossess properties in the first six months of tenancy; James is further proposing to extend the minimum notice period from two to six months.
The RLA says it is “scandalous” the government is planning these changes without reforming possession routes for landlords who have legitimate reasons to repossess their properties.
The Welsh government will now consult on whether to increase the minimum notice period of Section 173, adds the body.
RLA vice chair and director for Wales Douglas Haig says: “This is a scandalous move that is essentially introducing 12-month 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.
“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.”
Arla Propertymark chief executive David Cox adds: “Extending notice periods to six months is absurd. It means that landlords will have to wait half a year before they can start court proceedings, which then takes 22 weeks on average before the tenant is actually evicted.
“Therefore, this means that tenants could build up almost a year in rent arrears before a Possession Order is enforced; potentially causing landlords to be repossessed by their mortgage lender.
“In another example, if the tenant is being evicted for anti-social behaviour, these proposals mean that neighbours would be forced to endure up to 12 months of the tenant from hell. This is illogical and will only damage the sector and local communities.”