Most tenants have the following rights:
- The right to live in the property undisturbed
- The right to live in a property that is in safe and in good repair
- The right to information about your tenancy such as a copy of any tenancy agreement, landlord's details and copies of certificates such as Energy Performance Certificate or Gas Safety
- A landlord who is registered with Rent Smart Wales and a Rent Smart Wales licenced landlord or agent
- Protection from unfair eviction
- To have your deposit protected under a protection scheme and returned if you meet the terms of the tenancy agreement and do not damage the property
- To have notice for any alterations in rent
- Not to be charged unlawful fees
If you fail to pay rent or breach other terms of your tenancy agreement your rights as a tenant can be affected.
What you can do
- Make sure you know what the rent amount and due dates are and keep to these
- Report any disrepair items promptly to your landlord
- Check your landlord is registered with Rent Smart Wales and someone has a licence for looking after the management of the property.
- Challenge any unlawful fees
- Make sure you are supplied with information relating to the Deposit Scheme used by the landlord
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 introduced significant changes to the legal framework governing residential tenancies in Wales. Under the Act, residential tenancies are referred to as "occupancy contracts." The rights of contract holders (tenants) under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 include:
Written Statement of Terms: Contract holders are entitled to receive a written statement of terms at the beginning of the tenancy. This statement outlines key terms of the occupancy contract, such as the rent amount, the length of the contract, and the obligations of both the landlord and tenant.
Protection against Unfair Terms: The Act includes provisions to protect contract holders from unfair terms in their occupancy contracts. Unfair terms may be unenforceable.
Security of Tenure: Contract holders enjoy secure and flexible tenancies. The Act introduces two types of occupancy contracts: "secure contracts" and "standard contracts." Secure contracts provide more significant security of tenure, while standard contracts offer more flexibility. A contract holder's rights and responsibilities vary based on the type of contract.
Repairs and Maintenance: Contract holders have the right to expect that the property is in a good state of repair and that the landlord is responsible for necessary repairs and maintenance. Landlords must ensure that the property is fit for habitation and in compliance with health and safety standards.
Notice Periods: The Act establishes specific notice periods for ending occupancy contracts. The notice periods differ based on the type of contract and the grounds for termination.
Rent Increases: Contract holders are entitled to receive proper notice of rent increases, and rent increases must be fair and reasonable.
Protection against Retaliation: Contract holders are protected against retaliatory eviction or actions by landlords. Landlords are prohibited from serving a notice for possession in response to a contract holder's legitimate complaints about the property's condition.
Protection against Illegal Eviction and Harassment: Contract holders are protected against illegal eviction, harassment, and unlawful practices by landlords.
Access to Dispute Resolution: Contract holders have access to dispute resolution mechanisms to address disagreements with landlords, such as the Rent Smart Wales mediation service and the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).
Right to Assign or Sublet: Contract holders may have the right to assign or sublet their occupancy contracts, subject to the terms of the contract and landlord's consent.
It's important to note that the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is a complex piece of legislation, and the rights and responsibilities of contract holders can vary based on specific circumstances and the type of occupancy contract in place. If you are a contract holder, it's advisable to seek legal advice or refer to official guidance to fully understand your rights under the Act.