In Wales, there are still restrictions due to the coronavirus and it is important to stay up to date with the most recent guidance.
Further information can be found on:
This guidance document is designed to provide specific guidance for landlords and managing agents in the private rented sector across Wales.
Alongside adhering to the most current public health guidance, it is important to continue to give consideration to how you support your tenants.
If you yourself have to self-isolate, then you will need to ensure that tenants are made aware of alternative arrangements to get in contact with you through email, telephone or by text message or, where this isn’t possible, through a family or friend.
Many of your tenants may have received a vaccination, however, we would recommend that you continue to keep in contact with your tenants to keep up to date with their situation, in case they are affected or self-isolating.
If a tenant requires hospitalisation for COVID-19, the property should be thoroughly cleaned in line with current guidance.
Landlords’ repair obligations have not changed. Tenants have a right to a decent, warm and safe place to live – and it is in the best interests of both tenants and landlords to ensure that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards. You should communicate with your tenant or tenants in planning any repairs and maintenance and should also allow tenants to make their own personal judgement as to whether allowing access to the property is necessary.
During the current time we encourage landlords to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to non-urgent issues which are affected by COVID-19 related restrictions. If you are not able to gain access to the property due to restrictions in place to tackle COVID-19, or are not able to engage a contractor to carry out the necessary work, we recommend you document your attempts to do so and all correspondence with your tenants.
Read the guidance on carrying out work in other people’s homes
Supporting your tenants
We are encouraged by the positive and proactive approach many landlords and managing agents are taking to support their tenants through this crisis. This has included landlords negotiating rental payment plans with tenants where their income has decreased as a result of the crisis, and affordable repayment plans where tenants have fallen into arrears. We would encourage you to continue to be supportive to your tenants and deliver maximum flexibility throughout this crisis, wherever possible.
We have produced guidance for tenants in the private rented sector. We have also produced guidance on financial support available to tenants. You should use this guidance to signpost your tenant/s to the appropriate help and support that may be available to them.
Notice seeking possession
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, regulations have been made under Schedule 29 to the Coronavirus Act 2020 that temporarily extend, until 31 December 2021, the minimum notice periods landlords in the private rented sector must give to tenants with assured and assured shorthold tenancies.
A 6 month notice period will apply to notices issued on or after 24 July 2020 under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, except those that specify grounds 7A or 14 (relating to anti-social behaviour). In relation to these latter grounds, notice requirements have reverted to the pre-covid position since 29 September 2020.
A 6 month notice period will apply to notices issued on or after 24 July 2020 under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
The temporary change to notice periods is being made in order to further delay evictions during the ongoing public health emergency. It will mean that:
- fewer people will face eviction into homelessness at a time when local authorities are less able to respond to these situations
- those renting their homes will benefit from increased security and reduced anxiety
- individuals at risk of eviction will be provided with increased time to seek support to resolve any problems
Section 8 notice: Form 3
When serving a section 8 notice, the prescribed form must be used. The prescribed form for Wales is Form 3, set out in the Schedule to the Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) Regulations 1997. However, as indicated above, the changes due to the pandemic mean that six months’ notice has to be given, other than in relation to ASB or domestic violence grounds. To that end, as a consequence of regulation 15 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Wales) Regulations 2020, the bullet-points in paragraph 5 of Form 3 (earliest date on which court proceedings can be brought) should be read as:
- Where the landlord is seeking possession on any of grounds 1 to 7, 8 to 13, 15, 16 or 17 (without ground 7A or 14) court proceedings cannot begin earlier than six months from the date on which this notice is served on you, and in the case of grounds 1, 2, 5 to 7, 9 and 16 court proceedings cannot, in any event, begin before the date on which the tenancy (had it not been assured) could have been brought to an end by a notice to quit served at the same time as the notice.
- Where the landlord is seeking possession on ground 7A (with or without other grounds), court proceedings cannot begin earlier than 1 month from the date this notice is served on you in the case of a fixed term tenancy and, in the case of a periodic tenancy, court proceedings cannot begin before the date on which the tenancy (had it not been assured) could have been brought to an end by a notice to quit served at the same time as this notice.
- Where the landlord is seeking possession on ground 14 (with or without other grounds other than ground 7A), court proceedings cannot begin before the date this notice is served on you.
- Where the landlord is seeking possession on ground 14A (without other grounds), court proceedings cannot begin earlier than two weeks from the date this notice is served on you.
- Where the landlord is seeking possession on ground 14A, court proceedings cannot begin unless the landlord has served, or has taken all reasonable steps to serve, a copy of this notice on the partner who has left the property.
- After the date shown in section 5, court proceedings may be begun at once but not later than 12 months from the date on which this notice is served. After this time the notice will lapse and a new notice must be served before possession can be sought.
The outbreak of Covid-19 can be especially worrying if you have difficulty paying your bills, rent or mortgage Help and advice is available from many different organisations. Some of this help and support is new, set up to help you manage financially during the coronavirus outbreak, so it is worth checking out what might be available to you.
Further help and advice
You may find it beneficial to discuss your financial situation in more detail and, or get further information, advice and support. Some useful links are listed below.
- Business Wales
- Citizens Advice
- Citizens Advice (Covid-19)
Advicelink Cymru: 03444 772 020 Text relay: 03444 111 445
(phone lines operate between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and it is usually busiest at the beginning and the end of the day-they are not open on public holidays)
Chat to a Citizens Advice debt adviser (this chat is usually available 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday-it is not available on public holidays)
Chat to a Citizens Advice adviser online about another issue (this chat is usually available 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday- it is not available on public holidays)