Greater industry regulation draws closer in Wales

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In an earlier blog in May 2012 ('The foundations are laid for regulation of the PRS in Wales') I outlined plans for the reform of housing law in Wales. A Housing Bill 2013 is currently being drafted, which, among other things, will introduce a compulsory licensing scheme for all private rented sector landlords and letting/management agents in Wales - something bodies in England like ARLA and RICS have long sought.

But the Welsh Government has also announced that it intends to introduce fundamental reform to the law underpinning the residential landlord-tenant relationship - building on recommendations made by the Law Commission for England and Wales way back in 2006.

The first step in this process has now been taken: the Law Commission has just published Renting Homes in Wales. It is downloadable at  http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/publications/renting_homes_in_wales.htm

This new (and mercifully short) report revisits the recommendations it made in its original 2006 report Renting Homes, in order to assist the Welsh Government as it develops its plans for a new Renting Homes Bill.  A White Paper is expected to be published in early summer.

The main focus of the new Law Commission report is on how the underlying law has changed in the 7 years since the original report was published. The main development has been in the impact of human rights legislation - which principally affects public rather than private landlords. The Law Commission was also anxious to test whether its proposals fitted with the known priorities of the Welsh Government, particularly in regard to dealing with anti-social behaviour.

Its broad conclusion was that the original recommendations had stood the test of time and would provide a sensible legal framework against which housing policy relating to the rented sector as a whole (public as well as private) could be taken forward.

I will return to this subject when the White Paper is published.


Posted by Martin Partington, TDS Chair, former Law Commissioner for England and Wales on 18 April 2013

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