You probably haven’t seen it in the news, there certainly hasn’t been a big announcement to welcome it, but on March 24 the Welsh Government quietly showed up at the owners’ hall and reduced the periods notice of eviction from 6 months to 2 months. .
Despite the warm words and ambitious rhetoric, the reality is that the Welsh Government has made the political choice to pack private tenants down the river in an attempt to make them someone else’s problem. The same private tenants who have suffered meteoric rent increases, barely checked and often shameless discrimination and whose exorbitant homes are the least energy efficient, meaning they will be hardest hit by the worsening Cost of life.
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It was never meant to be – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The long-awaited Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 should finally be implemented this year, yes in 2022.
The protections offered by the Act are a positive step in the right direction. However, they will come far too late for the hundreds, if not thousands, of private tenants who will undoubtedly find their lives turned upside down in the coming months when they receive a Section 21 eviction notice, or no-fault. . This will give people two months to get out of their homes and find another place to live – with all the stress and expense that this process perpetuates.
Additionally, the Welsh Government had already rolled back additional protections for tenants under coronavirus laws since the eviction ban ended last year. This day had come since the very beginning of the pandemic.
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Last year the Welsh Government, councils and support organizations moved mountains to accommodate thousands of people who had been or subsequently were pushed into homelessness. They then declared triumphantly that “no one will have to go back” but here we are, less than 2 years later, in the perilous position of people being evicted in a pressure cooker from a rental market where landlords and rental agents own everything. cards.
Make no mistake, this decision will push people into homelessness. This totally avoidable decision will plunge people into – or further into – poverty, deprivation and despair. This will further swell an already jam-packed homelessness system that sees more than 7,300 people pushed into homelessness, including nearly 2,000 children.
Shelter Cymru’s recent article showed that they were already seeing a 78% increase in no-fault evictions, even before the notice period dropped significantly. This window of reduced protections will see nothing short of a gold rush for landlords as they happily evict tenants and get contracts signed before the law changes later in the year – so their tenants’ contracts will be on the old terms and not protected by the new laws. Another beautiful mess.
There’s a lot to celebrate about the Welsh government’s housing commitments, but 20,000 new social housing units and the creation of a national building company (amongst other positives), won’t be much comfort to tenants of Wales, who frantically fight for homes when the ladder is taken away from them.
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The decision goes against so-called Labor values and the ambitious vision of a homeless Wales, with fair rents and homes that allow people to live their lives without having to look over their homes. shoulder each month.
I sincerely hope I am wrong and would be happy about it, but for many renters like me, this is yet another kick in the teeth.
Rob Simkins is a tenant in Wales and a member of the ACORN union.
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