The Welsh government has announced that landlords will have to wait even longer to evict tenants who have not been paying their rent.
Housing minister Julie James (pictured) has revealed that landlords and letting agents will have to give six months’ notice prior to beginning eviction proceedings right up until the end of March next year, an extension of the original deadline by half a year.
This brings Wales into line with the rest of the UK and includes two exceptions. Where the reason for giving notice relates to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence, notice periods will revert to the pre-Covid position, although this will be reviewed in December.
This means landlords wishing to start proceedings against those involved in anti-social behaviour will only have to wait a month, while those linked to domestic violence can be evicted immediately.
But unlike in other parts of the UK, the Welsh government has not introduced an ‘extreme arrears’ exception, instead citing its wider package of aid to protect both tenants and landlords from the effects of the pandemic.
This includes a low interest loan for tenants in rent arrears or struggling to pay their rent arrears because of Covid-19 which, as we reported in July, will be paid directly to landlords or agents and can be repaid over a period of up to five years at a rate of 1% APR
“The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to have a significant impact on daily life and is still posing major challenges for all of us,” James told the Welsh parliament.
“While these changes offer greater protection to tenants, they are not an excuse for people not to pay their rent if they are able to, and address any financial problems they are experiencing.
“Having an early conversation with landlords to work out a way forward is vital, as is getting the right debt advice.”
As in England, eviction proceedings will not take place within areas affected by local lockdowns and there will be a pause on eviction proceedings over the Christmas period.