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Commencement and implementation of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014

The Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act on 17 September 2014.

Sections 142 (Power to make orders and regulations), 143 (Meaning of a local housing authority), 145 (Provision for commencement) and 146 (Short title of the Act (external link)) came into force on the date of Royal Assent.

Sections 132 to 136 of the Act came into effect on 18 November 2014. These provisions enabled local housing authorities to exit the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy (HRAS) system on 2 April 2015 and become self-financing.

The abolition of the HRAS provisions is scheduled for some point in 2016, with the exception of section 131(4)(c) which came into force in April 2015. The delayed commencement allows for the audit of a local housing authority’s final HRAS claim for 2014-2015 to be completed.

The remaining provisions are to come into effect by Commencement Order on dates set by the Welsh Ministers.

With regards the private rented housing provisions, it is intended that they will be introduced over the course of 2015 and 2016. The requirement for landlords and agents to register and become licensed is expected to come into force in autumn 2015.

The homelessness provisions largely came into effect in April 2015 with the exception of section 75 (3)regarding priority need homelessness applicants,  due to come into force when Welsh Ministers think it is appropriate to do so.

The Gypsies and Traveller provisions, except sections 103 and 104, came into effect on 25 February 2015.  This places a duty on local authorities to undertake Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments (GTAAs) by March 2016. Sections 103 And 104 requiring local authorities to address unmet needs identified in the  GTAAs and the Welsh Ministers’ direction making powers that could be used if a local authority has failed to comply with its duty under this Part, are expected to be commenced by March 2016.

It is intended that commencement of the local authority standards provisions will be phased over time to allow for the different standards and guidance to be developed. Initially, powers to allow for the rent standard and related guidance were commenced on 1 December 2014.

The co-operative housing provisions came into effect at the end of 2014.

The council tax provisions came into force on 31 January 2016. Local authorities have discretionary powers to charge council tax premiums on long-term empty homes and second homes in their areas from 1 April 2017.