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Letting agency drawn into national debate over eviction reform

Welsh letting agent Sarah Evans caught in the middle between struggling landlord selling up and cash-strapped tenants needing a home.

Robyn Hall

sarah evans

The Renting Homes Act in Wales is thought to be behind a swathe of landlords selling up as the biggest change in housing law in decades begins to take hold and rising costs start to bite.

From 1 December 2022 the 2016 Act will enforce six months’ notice for any eviction and will also guarantee tenants security of occupation for 12 months. It will also enforce landlords’ responsibilities for maintenance and outlaw “retaliatory eviction” of tenants.

One family defying repossession by their landlord says that if they are evicted they will have nowhere to go and cannot afford double the £630 per month they are paying now.

Michael and Kathryn Wakeman have lived in their home in Rumney for 10 years and have a son and daughter living at home.

They have been issued with a Section 21 (no fault) eviction notice and were told the landlord intends to sell the property. They were given two months’ notice after the Westminster government lifted protections giving tenants six months’ notice during the pandemic. The family is refusing to leave.

Mr Wakeman, who works in pest control, was studying to be a gas engineer and helps run a local food bank with his wife as well as an organisation that helps provide school uniforms for children, says: “We’ve been here for 10 years.”

Mrs Wakeman, who works full-time with the two charities, adds: “Obviously, we haven’t been able to leave as we have nowhere to go, the council advised us to stay put, we are now awaiting a possession order from the estate agents.”

TRYING TO HELP

Cardiff-based James Douglas Sales and Lettings manages the property and general manager Sarah Evans (main picture) told The Neg that while the agency was doing all it could to help the tenants the case was far from isolated.

“We’re definitely seeing more landlords selling property or increasing rents to meet rising costs – it’s just not viable for some landlords. Unless the Welsh government takes action we will see more cases like this.

“The Act came about with the best of intentions but this is making it harder for landlords. The government still has time to make improvements.”

August 3, 2022

2 comments

  1. Worse still is Airbnb.
    Some flats that I manage in central Cardiff are now being run as hotel accommodation.

    The reason why hotels are expensive is all the maintenance created by the short term nature of their business and damage done by Guests.

    Airbnb is not covered by this shiny new legislation.

    So to dodge the Act and make more money (which you probably do not disclose to HMRC) go Airbnb.

    Midddle class tax avoidance.

    Well done Government for Wales.

  2. Why doesn’t someone just tell it as it is and stop padding; the act is a joke, the more regulations forcing landlords to do something the more will sell and the worse it will be for tenants. In this case the owner is entitled to their very expensive asset back, perhaps they want the money for private medical or daughters wedding, who knows but it’s their asset and they earnt it so should have control of it. As for the Council advising tenants to stay put they need to stop this advice because whilst it is the tenants right, it always ends in a CCJ for the tenant and almost removes the chance of them ever renting privately again or getting credit – it’s a trap and really poor advice.

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